Maple leafs at Flames Spread, Moneyline, Trends & Matchups Print
Written by mark   
Thursday, 15 January 2009 19:37
NHL Headline News

Deja Vu

Atlanta,Ga - The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won consecutive games, they did so in Atlanta.

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The Maple Leafs (17-21-6) again travel to Philips Arena looking for back-to-back wins Friday against the Atlanta Thrashers (14-25-5), who hope to avoid a third straight loss.

Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the Trashers –130 money line favorites for Wednesday’s game against the Maple Leafs. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 64% of more than 169 bets for this game have been placed on the Trashers-130.

Toronto avoided embarrassment and broke its four-game losing streak with Thursday's 6-4 victory in Carolina.

After scoring the first four goals and leading 4-1 entering the final period, the Maple Leafs blew that advantage by allowing three goals in the first 8:40 of the third.

Tomas Kaberle, however, bailed out his team by scoring on a power play with 5:25 remaining, and Jason Blake added a empty netter with 11 seconds left to complete his sixth career hat trick. Blake also contributed two assists for a career-high five points.

"We found a way to win," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "We never should have put ourselves in that position, but we did.''

The victory also ended a four-game road skid for the Maple Leafs, and the six goals were the most they scored since their 6-2 win Dec. 22 at Atlanta. Following that game, Toronto averaged 1.70 goals over its next 10 before Thursday's win.

The Maple Leafs have won two of three meetings this season with the Thrashers and five of the last six. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 trips to Atlanta, but Toronto is also 1-4 in the second half of back-to-back games in 2008-09.

Friday's game will feature two of the league's worst defenses and two of its worst penalty-killing units.

The Maple Leafs have allowed 4.07 goals per game in their last 14 contests and given up 19 power-play goals in their last 52 short-handed situations. Atlanta, meanwhile, has yielded 4.00 goals per game over its last 16 and allowed opponents to go 9-for-36 on the power play in the last eight.

After wining five of their first eight home games, the Thrashers have gone 2-10-2 in their last 14 at Philips Arena, and are 2-7-1 mark in their last 10 overall.

Ilya Kovalchuk's first game as captain and the return of leading goal scorer Bryan Little couldn't spark the Thrashers on Wednesday in a 3-2 home loss to Ottawa.

"It's definitely a special night in my career, but I wanted to win the game," Kovalchuk said. "The penalties are killing us."

Little, who missed three games with a rib injury and has 19 goals, hasn't scored in the last four contests since his seven-goal binge over four games.

Center Todd White - second on the team with 42 points - suffered a bruised foot in the third period Wednesday, but is expected to play. He has two goals and five assists during a four-game point streak.

Left wing Slava Kozlov has an assist in four consecutive contests, but has been limited to one goal in his last 12 games.

Despite their struggles on the penalty kill, the Thrashers have one of the league's top power-play units, converting 21.4 percent of their chances, scoring at least man-advantage goal in four straight games.

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Posted: 1/16/09 12:40AM ET

 

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