Leafs look to avenge October loss, welcome Ducks up North
The Toronto Maple Leafs will be out to avenge an Oct. 30 loss when they play the visiting Anaheim Ducks Tuesday night.
In the process, they will attempt to extend two significant streaks. Mitchell Marner has gone a team-record 22 consecutive games with at least one point (11 goals, 19 assists) and the Maple Leafs have collected at least one point in 14 straight games (11-0-3), the second-longest streak in franchise history.
The Ducks opened a five-game road trip Monday night with a 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators.
The Maple Leafs squandered a 3-1 third-period lead in losing 4-3 in overtime to the Ducks at Anaheim in the first meeting between the teams this season.
Since then, the Maple Leafs have gone 14-1-4, including a sloppy 5-4 home overtime win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
That October swoon served as a wakeup call.
“We had a lot of discussions internally how we needed to be better,” Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said. “We kind of stuck with it, kept working in certain areas. Things have snowballed well since, we’ve done a lot of good things. Now the key is to keep that going, which is a challenge in itself.”
Head coach Sheldon Keefe also realized that the loss triggered something within the locker room.
“The guys sensed the urgency of the moment,” Keefe said. “Both at that time and with the amount of injuries we had. That in itself really got the team’s attention. We’ve talked about that now, as we’ve started to get healthy, how we don’t want to lose what we’ve gained in terms of a mindset, recognizing what has given us the opportunity to succeed, our strong defensive play.
“Certainly, we’re in a different place now than when we left California.”
In Ottawa, Ducks rookie goaltender Lukas Dostal stopped 35 of 38 shots in his fourth career NHL start and his first this season. He had been recalled from the San Diego Gulls of the AHL.
He played well, stopping a three-on-none Ottawa chance in the second period. The 22-year-old made a big save on Shane Pinto, also in the second.
Anaheim had 32 shots on Senators goaltender Cam Talbot.
The Ducks dropped to 2-12-3 in road games this season and are 2-6-2 in their past 10 games overall.
“Coming from the AHL, you know, at the start, the game’s a little bit different,” Dostal said. “Took me maybe just a couple of minutes to adjust, but as the game went on, I felt pretty good out there, actually. Obviously, still upset we lost, but personally, I felt pretty good out there.”
Anaheim head coach Dallas Eakin liked what he saw from the rookie goalie.
“(Dostal) played extremely well,” Eakin said. “He made a couple of huge saves. Just an absolutely horrible change in the second period and he made a huge one there, but he was real solid. He’s a great kid. He’s a kid that you can cheer for a lot just because of his character, his attitude, how he works.”
–Field Level Media