|TBL||0||2||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|TOR||0||2||1||(0 - 0)||3|
MAPLE LEAFS (27-21-6) vs. LIGHTNING (31-16-5)
Tampa Bay 6-3-1; Toronto 6-3-1
Sun Sports/TSN; AM 970 WFLA
Despite playing each other four times this season, this will be just the first meeting between the new Atlantic Division rivals. The Bolts went 2-1-0 against the Maple Leafs last season, but lost the lone meeting at Air Canada Centre 4-2. In their latest contest on April 24 in Tampa, Martin St. Louis netted a hat trick.
Tampa Bay looks to further separate themselves from the rest of the Atlantic Division as they kick off a four-game road trip that includes three divisional tilts. Toronto is currently seven points behind the Bolts and the Boston Bruins.
LIGHTNING – The Bolts' past game against the Colorado Avalanche had a number of storylines heading into the contest, including two possible Jack Adams candidates coaching their respective teams to success in their first full year as bench boss. Yet the one that shined the most was Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson facing-off against Nathan MacKinnon, who are both considered early contenders for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year.
Johnson began the matchup just two points behind MacKinnon for the most points by a rookie thus far this season, but he ended up tied for first (34 points) with his Avs' counterpart after recording his first career NHL hat trick. It was also the Lightning's third straight win, which keeps them on pace with the Bruins for first in the division, albeit Boston has two games in hand on the Bolts.
After being cleared for light contact Saturday, Steven Stamkos felt soreness in his surgically-repaired leg Monday and did not practice with the team. Stamkos did travel with the team on their four-day road swing.
MAPLE LEAFS – It has been a type of rollercoaster season for Toronto, who saw themselves at the top of the standings to start the season, but they have slowly dwindled since. The Maple Leafs recently won six in a row, but have now lost their past two contests. With a three-game homestand and a chance to collect six points against divisional opponents, Toronto has a big to-do list in front of them before Olympic break, as five of their final six opponents hail from the Atlantic.
At practice Monday, forwards Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk both left early with injuries, but head coach Randy Carlyle said they would both be in Tuesday.
Saturday's game marked center Johnson's first career NHL hat trick after he opened the scoring and netted the final two tallies of the game. Martin St. Louis also extended his point streak to 10 games (eight goals, six assists) and Victor Hedman matched his career-best for assists in a game with three, which he had set just one contest earlier.
1/24 – Reassigned F Richard Panik to the Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
|M. St. Louis||53||25||27||52||+18||6||8||4|
|J. van Riemsdyk||53||21||20||41||-6||32||8||3|
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