The Nashville Predators and the Toronto Maple Leafs got off to fast starts this season. They've been trying to recapture that level of play ever since.
On Tuesday night, Toronto looks to end a four-game home losing streak against a Nashville club that's dropped four of five on the road.
The Maple Leafs (5-8-3) have lost eight straight and their 4-0 start is a distant memory. Their most recent loss, 5-3 to Vancouver on Saturday, came after they blew a 2-0 first-period lead.
Mason Raymond scored the winner 13:36 into the third period when it appeared Jean-Sebastien Giguere had a good opportunity to make the save.
Despite the defeat, coach Ron Wilson saw improvement from his struggling team.
"(That's) the best third period we've played in two or three weeks," Wilson said. "(Giguere) was great all night, but we needed a stop there. He would be the first to say he had to have that shot."
Giguere has gone 1-5-2 in his last seven starts and gave up four goals for the second consecutive game.
Phil Kessel scored to end a seven-game point drought, while Mikhail Grabovski's second-period goal gave him a point in five of his last six.
The Maple Leafs (5-8-3) have the second-lowest point total in the NHL.
"We just have to go back to basics," forward Kris Versteeg said. "In the first four games, a lot of our goals came off simple plays, puck possession and not throwing the puck away. I think we're coming on to how we want to play now."
The Predators' confidence may be building as well. They ended a four-game road skid and five-game overall losing streak with a 3-2 shootout victory over St. Louis on Thursday. Nashville won in a shootout again Saturday, beating Chicago 4-3.
The Nashville goals against Chicago came from defensemen, as Shane O'Brien, Shea Weber and Cody Franson scored.
"(The defensemen) try and chip in whenever we can, but it is just a good job by our forwards," Franson said. "We don't get the puck without them. It is a whole team thing."
The Predators (7-5-3) trailed in the third period of both games.
"It's very hard in this league when you are down," said coach Barry Trotz, whose team opened the season 3-0. "When you are chasing the game, trying to get it tied up, it is pretty taxing on your team mentally. But you talk about defining a backbone and finding ways to win, that's what those moments are."
Pekka Rinne ended his four-game losing streak with strong performances in each shootout, but he struggled in his last start against Toronto. The Maple Leafs scored three goals on eight shots in the first period, forcing Rinne from the game in a 4-3 road victory Jan. 18.