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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, October 30th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (9-4-0) at Calgary Flames (5-4-2), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The first-place Toronto Maple Leafs will aim for a third straight win when they visit the Calgary Flames in Wednesday's clash at the Saddledome.
After notching a 4-1 victory over visiting Pittsburgh on Saturday, Toronto began its three-game tour of Western Canada with a 4-0 triumph Tuesday night at Edmonton. James Reimer stopped 43 shots for his first shutout of the season and the Leafs recorded their third victory in four trips to the ice.
Phil Kessel posted two goals and two assists, Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists, while James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Maple Leafs, who are leading the Atlantic Division with 18 points, two more than both Tampa Bay and Montreal.
"I can't say enough about (Kessel)," van Riemsdyk said. "He sees the ice really well and has a lot of offensive instincts."
Kessel is leading Toronto with nine goals and 18 points this season. The prolific right winger has two goals and three assists over eight career games against Calgary.
Jonathan Bernier figures to get the start in net for the Maple Leafs on Wednesday. He is 1-1-0 with a 1.51 goals against average in two career outings versus the Flames.
Toronto, which is 4-2-0 as the road club this season, will end its current trek when it visits the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
The Flames ended a two-game slide and won for just the second time in six outings (2-4-0) when they notched a 5-2 victory over the visiting Washington Capitals on Saturday. Mike Cammalleri scored two goals and had an assist to help the Flames record the easy win over Washington.
Calgary scored twice in the first 7:24 of the game to take a 2-0 lead and held a 3-1 advantage at the end of 20 minutes. The Capitals cut the deficit to 3-2 in the second, but Cammalleri scored midway through the third period and Curtis Glencross added another tally to account for the final margin.
Kris Russell and Jiri Hudler also scored for the Flames and Karri Ramo made 27 saves in the victory.
"Kris Russell played very, very well. I thought that he jumped in the play and made some great decisions with the puck defensively," said Flames head coach Bob Hartley. "For a small-sized defenseman it is pretty unbelievable how he's always in the play. He always finds a way to get it done. A very intelligent player."
Hartley will have to rely on Russell and other blueliners to make up for the loss of defenseman and team captain Mark Giordano, who will miss his fourth straight game with a broken ankle.
On Tuesday, the Flames announced Giordano will be sidelined for 6-to-8 weeks with the injury. Giordano, who succeeded former franchise centerpiece Jarome Iginla as captain, has totaled two goals and seven assists in eight games this season.
Forward Lee Stempniak also is considered week-to-week for Calgary with a broken foot. Stempniak has posted four goals and five assists in 10 games this season.
Calgary is playing the middle test of a three-game homestand on Wednesday and has yet to lose in regulation on home ice this season, posting a 3-0-1 mark at the Saddledome.
The Flames also have dominated Toronto on home ice in recent seasons, taking the last seven encounters in Calgary between the teams. The Maple Leafs last won at the Saddledome on Dec. 27, 2002.
Toronto has dropped five of the last six meetings overall in this series.
10/30 10:50:55 ET