The Tampa Bay Lightning will attempt to get back in the playoff hunt when the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the St. Pete Times Forum tonight.
This will be the second of four meetings between these two clubs this season. With the Lightning holding a 1-0 advantage in the series, thanks to a 3-2 decision at the Air Canada Center in October.
The Lightning have won two in a row from the Maple Leafs in Tampa, and own a 3-1-1 record in their previous five games against Toronto.
Tampa Bay, 18-25-11, will try to make amends for a disappointing lost to the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday. Tonight’s contest will be mark the halfway point in the Lightning’s current six-game homestand. They are 1-1-0 after the first two games.
The leading goal scorer for the Bolts, Vincent Lecavalier, has three goals and eight points in his previous five games against the Maple Leafs. Lecavalier’s season total of 24 goals is good enough for a tie for ninth place among all NHL goal scorers.
Martin St. Louis is the leading point scorer for Tampa Bay with 50, and Gary Roberts enters tonight’s game having scored in the two previous consecutive contests.
The Maple Leafs (20-24-10) arrive in Tampa sporting a 3-1-2 record over their previous six games, but suffered a debilitating defeat on Tuesday night when they blew a 4-1 lead in the third period to the Florida panthers, eventually losing 5-4 in overtime.
They, like the Lightning, are in a battle for their playoff lives, currently trailing Florida by 10 points for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Veteran forward Jason Blake leads the Leafs in both points, with 42, and goals scored with 19. Nik Antropov trails Blake by three goals.
Following tonight’s game, the Washington Capitals will face the Lightning on Saturday night and Chicago and New Jersey visit next week to conclude the homestand.