The Florida Panthers have consistently managed to earn points over the last two weeks, but they haven’t been able to win at home.
That could change Friday night when they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Seeking to avoid a fourth consecutive home loss, the Panthers will try to earn their fifth straight win over the Maple Leafs.
Florida (10-9-4) is 5-0-3 since Nov. 12 but has suffered three consecutive defeats at the BankAtlantic Center - all in overtime or a shootout.
“I don’t think you’re ever happy about coming away with one point,” Florida coach Peter DeBoer said.
“We’re not going to score a lot of goals with the lineup we have,” DeBoer said. “We’re going to have to win games 1-0 and 2-1.”
The Panthers’ best chance to score in bunches may be against the Maple Leafs, who are allowing a league-high 3.61 goals per game and have the NHL’s worst penalty killing unit (73.9 percent). Florida scored 16 goals while sweeping last season’s four-game series between these clubs. Panthers center Stephen Weiss(notes) had three goals and five assists in those meetings.
Toronto has allowed fewer than three goals only once during a 2-4-2 stretch, but escaped with a 4-3 win at Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.
The Maple Leafs (5-11-7) scored twice in the first 11:54 but allowed the Lightning to tie the game less than three minutes later. They blew another lead in the second period, but Matt Stajan(notes) tallied the go-ahead score with 1:47 left before the final intermission.
“We got some good bounces and we finished the way we should,” coach Ron Wilson said.
After scoring eight goals during a four-game slide, the Maple Leafs have netted 13 while going 2-0-2 since Nov. 19, and Niklas Hagman(notes) has accounted for four of those goals in the last three games.
“It feels like we’re getting our legs under us a little bit better,” said Hagman, who scored twice in Wednesday’s victory and has three goals in his last two games against the Panthers. “We’re creating more chances.”
With back-to-back games this weekend - the Panthers visit Nashville on Saturday - Florida goaltenders Tomas Vokoun(notes) and Scott Clemmensen(notes) are expected to make one start apiece, but it isn’t known who will be in net Friday.
Vokoun, who has a 1.94 goals-against average in his last four games, is 6-1-2 with a 1.98 lifetime GAA against Toronto. Clemmensen suffered a 3-2 shootout defeat in his only matchup with the Maple Leafs on Dec. 16, 2008.