|TBL||3||1||1||(0 - 0)||5|
|TOR||2||0||1||(0 - 0)||3|
LIGHTNING (37-24-7) vs. MAPLE LEAFS (36-26-8)
SUN, TSN, RDS2; AM 970 WFLA
Tampa Bay 4-4-2; Toronto 4-4-2
The Bolts have been outscored by the Maple Leafs 7-3 in two combined meetings and have lost both contests thus far in 2013-14. With two games left against Toronto this year, the Lightning look to turn things around at the Air Canada Centre Wednesday, where they have not won since March 14, 2011, a span of four games.
Not only are five out of their next seven games away from the friendly confines of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, but four of those road tilts will be versus the Atlantic Division. The Bolts currently sit in third place in the division with 81 points, however Montreal, who is in second with 83 points, has two games in hand on Tampa Bay. Toronto has one less point than the Lightning, but they also have played two more games than the Bolts.
LIGHTNING – While Ben Bishop and Valtteri Filppula both left the game with injuries the last time they faced Toronto, the two have been hitting their stride heading into Wednesday's game. Bishop won his 32nd game of the season Monday, while Filppula extended his point streak to five games with a tally.
With the team starting to find chemistry it is beginning to pay off big time for the Bolts, as they again have found themselves within the top-3 in the Atlantic. Now the 14 games that remain on its schedule are chances for the Lightning to further distance themselves from the six teams that are less than 10 points below them in the conference and still vying for a spot in the postseason.
MAPLE LEAFS – The Leafs rose above Tampa Bay in the standings recently, but going 2-3-0 on a five-game road trip caused them to drop back to a Wild Card spot as of now. In their last game of the road trip Tuesday, which also makes Wednesday the second half of back-to-backs, the Maple Leafs dropped a 3-2 decision to the Detroit Red Wings when a late rally fell short.
A reason for their recent struggles may be attributed to the loss of goalie Jonathan Bernier, who left their tilt against the Los Angeles Kings with a groin injury two games earlier. The Leafs hung on to win that contest, but have not been able to win since.
Forwards Ondrej Palat and Valtteri Filppula have points in five straight games, while Steven Stamkos is starting to come along since returning from injury. The Bolts' captain has two power-play goals in his past three games. Netminder Ben Bishop has also returned to form and is among the tops in the league for goaltending.
Lightning – D Brian Lee (Knee, Out); Maple Leafs – G Jonathan Bernier (groin, day-to-day), F David Bolland (ankle, out)
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|J. van Riemsdyk||68||27||29||56||-6||42||9||3|
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