Now that the Toronto Maple Leafs have finally won a home game during the week, they’ll try for another first at the Air Canada Centre.
The Maple Leafs look to win two in a row at home for the first time this season when they face the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.
Alexei Ponikarovsky(notes) scored a pair of goals 28 seconds apart and added an assist, while Matt Stajan(notes) and Lee Stempniak(notes) each had a goal with an assist in Toronto’s 5-2 win over Atlanta on Monday.
The victory was the Maple Leafs’ first at home on a weekday, and improved their mark at the Air Canada Centre to 3-7-3. The result also matched a season high for goals at home for Toronto (9-13-7), which had lost 3-0 to Buffalo in its previous game there Nov. 30.
“When you score goals like that and they start going in for you, it’s nice,” Stajan said. “You’re going to win a lot of hockey games (like that).”
The Maple Leafs have won five of seven overall, but four of those victories came on the road. Toronto has been outscored 43-28 at home, where it will play seven of its next 10 games.
The Maple Leafs’ 25 points top only Carolina’s 19 for the fewest in the Eastern Conference.
“We’re just worried about getting a point or two every night,” coach Ron Wilson said.
Toronto lost 4-3 in overtime at home to New York on Nov. 23, when the Islanders’ Dwayne Roloson(notes) stopped 58 of 61 shots. The last goalie to make that many saves in a game was Ron Tugnutt, who stopped 70 shots for the Quebec Nordiques at Boston on March 21, 1991.
Roloson appears likely to face Toronto again after resting for the Islanders’ game Tuesday night.
“To me, it’s just another night, another game,” the 40-year-old Roloson said of his last meeting with the Maple Leafs. “It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s one shot or 100 shots, I’ve got to do the same things, try to give my team a chance to win.”
Stajan had two assists for Toronto in the Nov. 23 loss, and has two goals with two assists in his last four contests overall. Ponikarovsky, meanwhile, has 11 goals on the season and five points in his last three games.
Vesa Toskala(notes) started against Roloson on Nov. 23, but left the game in the second period after suffering a groin injury that kept him out for four games. He made 22 saves Monday in his first start since that contest.
Toskala is 3-2-0 with a 3.18 lifetime GAA versus the Islanders.
With Roloson resting Tuesday, Martin Baron matched a season high for goals allowed in New York’s 6-2 loss at Philadelphia.
Roloson - 9-3-5 with a 2.76 GAA this season - has won two in a row against the Maple Leafs to improve to 2-6-0 with a 2.87 GAA versus Toronto.
John Tavares(notes), who grew up in suburban Toronto, scored both New York goals Tuesday as the Islanders (11-12-7) dropped their second consecutive contest. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft has 13 goals, but was held scoreless against Toronto in his hometown debut last month.
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