|TOR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
|TBL||3||0||1||(0 - 0)||4|
Lightning (7-4-2, 16 Points) vs. Maple Leafs (5-5-3, 13 Points)
Last 10: Tampa Bay (4-4-2); Toronto (2-5-3)
Season Series: The Bolts and Leafs meet for the first of four meetings tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum. The two teams split last season’s four-game series, with all four decided by just one goal, including three overtime thrillers.
The Big Story: Tampa Bay has gained points in 10 of the last 14 against the Maple Leafs at home, including seven wins. Three of four contests between the two clubs last season went into overtime, while all four were decided by just one goal, with Ryan Malone scoring three goals in four games in the season series. Tampa Bay looks to rebound from a tough road trip out West, where it went 1-2-1, as well as a three-game skid, while Toronto will attempt to end a five-game losing streak during which they have scored just seven goals.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay returns to play at home tonight for the first time in nearly two weeks following the team’s nine-day, four-game road trip. The Lightning enter this evening’s contest on a three-game losing streak, but have gained points in three out of their last four at home. Tampa Bay fell 5-2 to San Jose on Saturday, getting goals from Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, as the league’s most potent scoring tandem increased its lead among NHL teammate points leaders. After arriving back in Tampa early Sunday morning, Head Coach Guy Boucher rested his players by giving them a day off from practice, which might have not only invigorated the Bolts, but allowed the team to come out healthy versus Toronto. Every player was cleared to play against the Leafs with the exception of Simon Gagne, who is still out nursing a neck injury.
MAPLE LEAFS – Toronto will play its first game on a brief two-game set on the road. Tonight’s game is the front half of a back-to-back set, with the team set to travel to Sunrise to take on the Panthers tomorrow night. Toronto is looking to bounce back from a five-game losing streak, which included a 3-2 shootout loss to the Sabres in the team’s last outing. Leading 2-0 late in the second period, they couldn’t close the game out, giving up one goal with 1:14 left in the second, and the game-tying goal with 13.1 seconds left in regulation.
Who’s Hot: Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos has an NHL-leading 22 points in 13 games and has registered points in all but two games this season. Vincent Lecavalier also has three points in his last three games for the Lightning. Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski had a goal and an assist in Saturday's loss to Buffalo and has points in three straight games. Nikolai Kulemin also has three goals in as many games for the Maple Leafs, while Tomas Kaberle has collected three points in his last two contests.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Simon Gagne (neck, placed on Injured Reserve). MAPLE LEAFS – Colby Armstrong (finger, placed on Injured Reserve) and Dion Phaneuf (leg, placed on Injured Reserve).
Quotable: “I always say goals are like bananas, they come in bunches. I think we need the same opportunities that we've been getting, we just need to bury them.” – Head Coach Guy Boucher, on the team’s recent struggle to score goals
|M. St. Louis||14||6||9||15||+4||8||0||1|