NHL

Stempniak to make Leaf debut tonight against Thrashers

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The Sports Network / TSN.ca Staff
11/25/2008 3:01:26 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Maple Leafs' newest acquisition Lee Stempniak will be in the lineup tonight against the Thrashers, as both Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo passed their respective physicals with the Blues.  

Stepniak is scheduled to skate on the Leafs third line with Dominic Moore and Jason Blake.

Toronto and Atlanta will both be trying to end three-game losing streaks when they meet tonight at Air Canada Centre.  The Thrashers have dropped all three of their games in regulation, while Toronto was able to secure a point its last time out with an overtime setback against Chicago.

Atlanta has fallen on hard times since matching a franchise-record five-game winning streak. The Thrashers were dealt a pair of one-goal losses by Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and the most recent setback came by a 2-0 margin Saturday against visiting Columbus.

Rookie Steve Mason needed to save just 15 shots for his first career shutout as the Blue Jackets defeated the Thrashers, 2-0, at Philips Arena.

Ondrej Pavelec stopped 28-of-29 shots in the tough-luck loss for Atlanta. The Thrashers have lost nine of their last 14 contests (5-8-1), as they had lost six in a row just prior to the five-game winning streak.

The Thrashers have a dismal 2-5-2 record as the road team this year and will visit Washington on Wednesday to complete a brief two-game trip.

The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, have posted a 2-5-2 mark over their last nine outings and were handed a 5-4 setback by the visiting Blackhawks on Saturday. Dave Bolland netted the game-winner 49 seconds into overtime to lift Chicago to the victory.

Toronto held a 4-2 advantage heading into the third period, but Patrick Kane scored for Chicago just 58 seconds into the final stanza and Ben Eager knotted the score with 7:33 left in regulation.

Matt Stajan and Alexei Ponikarovsky had a goal and assist each for Toronto, which has also lost four of its last five games.

Vesa Toskala allowed five goals on 36 shots in the loss, marking the seventh time in eight outings that he's surrendered three or more goals.

The Maple Leafs are just 3-3-4 as the host this season and will try to avoid going winless on a three-game homestand tonight. Next up for Toronto will be Thursday's road contest in Ottawa.

The Maple Leafs took three of four against the Thrashers a year ago, but split the two meetings in Toronto. The Leafs have won 11 of the past 15 meetings and five of the last seven as the host in the series.

Stempniak has three goals and 13 points in 14 games so far this season.

Lee Stempniak (Photo: Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
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