|TOR||0||1||3||(0 - 0)||4|
|TBL||0||0||1||(0 - 0)||1|
MAPLE LEAFS (30-22-6) vs. LIGHTNING (32-19-5)
Toronto 7-2-1; Tampa Bay 5-4-1
Sun Sports; AM 970 WFLA
The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Toronto Maple Leafs for the first time this season Thursday evening at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Last week the Lightning visited Air Canada Centre and the teams nearly headed to overtime with the scored tied at two. James van Riemsdyk, who is Sochi-bound with Team USA, scored the game-winner with 4:03 left in regulation.
With Toronto trailing the Bolts by just three points in the Atlantic Division, Tampa Bay looks to hand the Maple Leafs their second straight loss against a division opponent.
LIGHTNING – The Lightning knew they had a chance to finish their most recent four-game road trip at .500 Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild. Given the fact they had already defeated the Wild once and were coming off of an exciting 2-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens in overtime, hopes were high heading into the matchup at Xcel Energy Center.
However Nino Niederreiter's power-play marker at the end of the first period slowed the Bolts' course. Dany Heatley then put Tampa Bay down 2-0 only 34 seconds into the third. Valtteri Filppula helped stage the late-game comeback with a goal at 13:53 of the final frame, but rookie netminder Darcy Kuemper stood tall between the pipes in his 11th consecutive start for Minnesota, which was a new franchise record for starts by a Wild rookie. Filppula's tally helped him reach the 20-goal plateau for the second time in his career.
It was also announced Wednesday that Steven Stamkos was not medically cleared for contact and will not participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics with Team Canada. Stamkos had been steadily progressing this week during practices and was hoping to play in a game with the Bolts before the Olympics. Instead he will continue to rehab with the Lightning training staff and be re-evaluated in two to three weeks.
MAPLE LEAFS – There were just a few bright spots in Toronto's game Tuesday in Sunrise. In his first game back after an eight-game absence, David Clarkson scored the Maple Leafs' lone goal in the third period. It was just his fourth through 37 games this year. Being badgered by 47 shots Jonathan Bernier also managed to save 44 as the Leafs fell, 4-1, to Tim Thomas and the Florida Panthers. The dropped decision snapped a three-game winning streak for Toronto, who came into the contest 9-1-1 in their last 11 games.
This week Ondrej Palat was named the NHL's Rookie of the Month for January after posting five goals and 11 assists in 15 games. With Martin St. Louis' helper on Filppula's tally, he passed Maurice "Rocket" Richard on the NHL's all-time points list. He now sits at 966 career points.
The Maple Leafs' Nazem Kadri, who had two goals against the Lightning in their last meeting, is currently riding a four-game point streak (three goals, five assists).
1/31 – Recalled G Cedrick Desjardins from the Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
1/31 – Recalled G Kristers Gudlevskis from the Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
2/1 – Reassigned G Kristers Gudlevskis to the Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Lightning – D Brian Lee (knee, out), G Anders Lindback (lower body, out), F Steven Stamkos (broken right tibia, out); Maple Leafs – F Carter Ashton (hand, out), F Dave Bolland (ankle, out), Trevor Smith (hand, out)
|J. van Riemsdyk||57||23||23||46||-2||34||9||3|
|M. St. Louis||57||25||30||55||+15||6||8||4|
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