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GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (33-26-4) at Toronto Maple Leafs (28-28-6).
TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
Without better play from its defense, the Tampa Bay Lightning may not get the chance to defend the Stanley Cup.
The Lightning will try to give themselves some breathing room in the playoff chase as they face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in a matchup of struggling teams.
With an 8-5 loss Thursday to Buffalo, the Lightning have given up 45 goals in their last eight games, losing five of them.
"We just have to keep fighting," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "We have to stay together as a team."
In the loss to the Sabres, John Grahame faced 17 shots over the first two periods, stopping just 11. He was replaced at the start of the third by Sean Burke, who turned aside just four of six shots.
Starting with a 7-4 loss on Feb. 7 to New Jersey, Grahame is 3-2-0 with a 5.18 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage in six starts.
Burke has appeared in three games, making two starts, but has fared much worse, going 0-3-0 with a 6.03 GAA and an abysmal .659 save percentage.
Brad Richards had a career-high four points in the loss to the Sabres, posting a goal and three assists. He has registered a point in 10 of his last 11 games, tallying four goals and 15 assists.
Tampa Bay is in seventh place in the East, one point ahead of eighth-place Montreal and four in front of ninth-place Atlanta.
Toronto lost for the sixth time in seven games Friday after dropping a 2-1 decision in a shooutout to the New York Islanders.
Former Islander Bryan McCabe scored in regulation for the Leafs, but Mats Sundin, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Darcy Tucker all were turned aside in the shootout.
"It was tough to lose a point in the shootout," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "I won't say I was discouraged, more like disappointed."
In an effort to shake up his team, right wing Tie Domi was listed as a healthy scratch for the first time this season and one week after he was honored for playing in his 1,000th game.
The decision did not please the 16-year veteran.
"Am I happy with it? No. Do I agree with it? No," said Domi, the third-most penalized player in NHL history with 3,479 career penalty minutes. "I know what I bring to the team, to the dressing room, and my teammates know."
Domi has just four goals, 10 assists and 73 penalty minutes in 59 games.
STANDINGS: Lightning - 70 points, 2nd place, 21 PB, Southeast Division. Maple Leafs - 62 points, 4th place, 27 PB, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - Vincent Lecavalier, 27 goals; Richards, 48 assists and 67 points; Pavel Kubina, 80 PIM. Maple Leafs - Tucker, 24 goals; Tomas Kaberle, 43 assists; McCabe, 56 points and 94 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Lightning - Power play: 15.5 percent (58 for 374), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (252 for 305), 15th. Maple Leafs - Power play: 20 percent (78 for 383), 3rd (tied). Penalty killing: 80.4 percent (312 for 388), 24th.
GOALTENDERS: Lightning - Grahame (23-17-1, 5 SO, 2.94 GAA); Burke (10-8-3, 1, 2.91). Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (22-22-4, 0, 3.29); Mikael Tellqvist (6-6-2, 1, 3.01).
SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 31; Lightning, 3-2 (SO). At Tampa, Fla., Lecavalier and Richards scored in the shootout, while Burke stopped Sundin and Ponikarovsky.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 17-14-2 on the road; Maple Leafs - 18-12-2 at home.
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