Last 10: Tampa Bay (4-6-0); Toronto (4-5-1)
Season Series: Tonight’s game at the Air Canada Centre marks the fourth and final meeting of the season between the Bolts and Leafs, as Tampa Bay looks to clinch the season series with its third win. Toronto, meanwhile, seeks to even its 2009-10 record against the Lightning. Tampa Bay has taken two of three this year from the Maple Leafs, with a win in Toronto on Nov. 3 and at home on Jan. 21. The Leafs, on the other hand, earned two points on Nov. 25 at the St. Pete Times Forum.
|Jan 21, 2010||TOR@TBL||TBL, 3 - 2|
|Nov 25, 2009||TOR@TBL||TOR, 4 - 3|
|Nov 3, 2009||TBL@TOR||TBL, 2 - 1|
The Big Story: 23 out of the previous 36 games between the Lightning and Maple Leafs have been decided by just one goal, dating back to the 2000-01 season. In those 23 contests, the Bolts have compiled a record of 10-8-5 despite being outscored 58-55. Six of the last nine have also gone to overtime or a shootout, with the Lightning going 4-0-2 in those games. Steven Stamkos has tallied five points in the previous two meetings between the clubs and looks to maintain the trend, as points in tonight’s game would extend the league’s longest active point streak to 18 games, one shy of the 2009-10 season-high record set by Anaheim’s Corey Perry. Tampa Bay has won its last three in a row in Toronto.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay will play the rubber match of its three-game road stretch tonight, which wraps up tomorrow in the second half of a back-to-back against division-rival Washington. The Lightning dropped the first contest away from the St. Pete Times Forum, 5-3, on Tuesday against Montreal at the Bell Centre. Stamkos scored with the man advantage to become the franchise single-season record holder for most power play goals in a season with 17, surpassing the previous mark of 16 held by Vincent Lecavalier and Brian Bradley. Martin St. Louis also scored to extend his point streak to four games and Mark Parrish recorded his first point as a member of the Lightning, assisting on Matt Walker’s first goal of the season.
MAPLE LEAFS – Toronto plays its second of three games at the Air Canada Centre tonight, where they have won three out of five. The latest of those victories came on Tuesday with a 4-3 overtime win versus Boston. Toronto came from behind three times, first to climb out of a 1-0 hole in the second period on a goal by Wayne Primeau, then to tie the game a second time on a goal by Carl Gunnarsson before finally getting a third-period goal by Luca Caputi that sent the game into the extra session. Nikolai Kulemin scored with just 50 seconds remaining overtime to seal the victory.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos has emerged as a superstar, with 16 goals and 15 assists during his career-high 17-game point streak. Martin St. Louis is currently riding a four-game streak, with eight points in that span which includes six assists, and defenseman Kurtis Foster has recorded four assists in three straight.
Nikolai Kulemin has a pair of goals and an assist in his last three for Toronto, while Carl Gunnarsson has tallied two points in as many games.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – David Hale (lower body, placed on Injured Reserve), Zenon Konopka (back spasms, out 1-2 weeks) and Ryan Malone (upper body, day-to-day). MAPLE LEAFS – Mike Komisarek (shoulder, out for season) and Fredrik Sjostrom (upper body).
Quotable: “None of that’s going to matter if we’re not in the playoffs. I’m just trying to do my part to help this team win and that’s creating offense. I’m going to keep doing that for the rest of the year.” – Lightning center Steven Stamkos, on the significance of his 17-game point streak
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