(Sports Network) - The Maple Leafs thought they had banished the memory of last season's slow start with a quick beginning to this campaign. However, they are now in danger of posting their longest losing streak since that ill-fated start.
Toronto hopes to avoid a seventh loss in a row against the last team it beat, the Florida Panthers, tonight at BankAtlantic Center.
You can see the game on TSN beginning at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.
An 0-7-1 start to the 2009-10 decision essentially buried the Maple Leafs last year as they went on to finish 15th out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference with just 74 points.
Hoping to avoid a similar fate, Toronto jumped out to a 4-0 start this year, but has since lost nine of 10, including six straight since its last win on Oct. 26 over Florida. The Leafs current skid is their longest since a six-game losing streak from Jan. 19-30 and they haven't lost seven in a row since their eight-game start last year from Oct. 1-24.
The Maple Leafs dropped their fourth straight on the road last night, getting shut out for the third time on their current slide, 4-0, by Tampa Bay last night. They have now been held to just eight goals on their losing streak.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere gave up three goals in the first period and made 21 saves on 25 shots faced in the loss. He has started four games of this losing streak, going 0-3-1 with a 2.75 goals-against average.
"I think it was obvious we weren't ready to start," Giguere said. "As a group we weren't ready to compete and do what we needed to do to win the game."
Phil Kessel, whose seven goals are tied for the club lead this season with Clarke MacArthur, hasn't scored in any of Toronto's six straight losses and last lit the lamp in the Oct. 26 victory over the Panthers. He has seven goals in 16 career meetings with Florida.
Giguere stopped 21 shots in that victory, improving to 5-5-0 with a tie and 2.64 GAA against the Panthers. The win was Toronto's third in five meetings with Florida, but the Panthers have still won six of the last nine overall and three of the last four played in Sunrise.
Florida has been out of action since Saturday, when it dropped a 3-2 road decision to Carolina in the finale of a home-and-home set. The Panthers had won at home the previous night, 7-4, but have lost four of their last six.
Darcy Hordichuk and Michael Frolik netted the goals for the Panthers, who had posted at least 50 shots in two straight games before managing 29 versus the Hurricanes, including nine through the first two periods.
Scott Clemmensen took the loss after yielding three goals on 29 shots.
"It was a funny game out there tonight," said Clemmensen. "There were funny bounces, a bunch of scoring chances and it wasn't much fun for a goaltender out there. But it was a tooth and nail game, we just didn't turn out on top."
Clemmensen was in net for Florida's last meeting with Toronto, allowing three goals on 27 shots, but Tomas Vokoun should get the call tonight. He is 7-3-2 with a 2.16 GAA in his career against the Leafs.
Cory Stillman suffered a shoulder injury on Friday and did not play the following night. He is day-to-day with the ailment, but doubtful to skate tonight.