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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, January 20th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (25-20-5) at Phoenix Coyotes (23-16-9), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will take aim at their first five-game winning streak in nearly seven years when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes for Monday's clash at Jobing.com Arena.
Toronto has recorded a season-high four straight wins on the heels of a four- game slide, but the Maple Leafs haven't claimed five consecutive victories since Jan. 27-Feb. 6, 2007.
The Leafs have notched four or more goals in each of their past three wins and recorded a 5-3 decision in Saturday's home test against the rival Montreal Canadiens. James van Riemsdyk scored the game-winning goal in the third period before Joffrey Lupul sealed the win with an empty-netter in the closing seconds.
Lupul, Mason Raymond and Phil Kessel all posted a goal and an assist, while Cody Franson also scored for the Maple Leafs. Kessel has recorded a point in five straight games, logging three goals and seven helpers during the tear.
Jonathan Bernier stopped 30 shots in the win, which helped Toronto pull within four points of the Canadiens for third place in the Atlantic Division. The top three teams in each division receive an automatic berth in the playoffs.
"Obviously the magnitude of this game was huge," said Toronto forward Nazem Kadri. "For us to chase that top spot in the division is still a realistic goal for us. We knew we had to come out and play against a very good team."
Toronto is currently in postseason position as it holds the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. The Leafs made the playoffs last spring to end a club- record postseason drought of seven seasons.
The Leafs are kicking off a four-game road trip tonight and are just 8-10-4 as the guest this season. Toronto has lost three straight and four of its past five tilts in Phoenix, but the Leafs have won seven of 13 overall meetings in the series.
The Coyotes have won two straight heading to Monday's tilt, giving the club consecutive wins for the first time since Dec. 10-12. Phoenix hasn't won three in a row since a five-game run from Oct. 26-Nov. 5.
Phoenix has notched both of its recent wins on home ice and will cap a three- game stay in the desert tonight.
The Coyotes picked up a 3-2 win over New Jersey on Saturday. Martin Hanzal tallied a goal and an assist to lead the way on offense, while Mike Smith made 32 saves in the victory.
Jordan Szwarz and Jeff Halpern also scored for Phoenix and Keith Yandle supplied two helpers in the Coyotes' second straight win after a four-game slump.
"It is a great night for me. Our line has been playing well recently. It was nice to get rewarded early and get a goal for our team," Szwarz said.
Phoenix improved to 14-7-3 as the home team this season. The Coyotes will begin a three-game road trip Wednesday night in Calgary.
01/20 10:56:20 ET