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Surging division leaders meet in Philly

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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay seek their sixth consecutive victory tonight when they visit the Philadelphia in a battle of division leaders at the Wachovia Center. Tampa, which has won 10 of its last 13 overall, is coming off Saturday's 5-2 win over visiting Atlanta. scored twice in the first period, and added an assist to lead the effort.

notched a goal and an assist, while and all scored for the , who earned a point in their seventh consecutive game (5-0-0-2). made 21 saves in the win.

Tampa Bay forward extended his point streak to nine games (9 g, 8a) with an assist on the 's empty-net goal in the waning stages.

The now lead second-place Atlanta by 11 points in the Southeast Division.

The Bolts, who have won seven of their last nine on the road, begin a three- game swing tonight and will visit Washington on Tuesday.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, is unbeaten in its last five contests (4-0-1). On Saturday, , and each had a goal and an assist, leading the to a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh at Mellon Arena.

and each scored for the , who are three up on New Jersey in the Atlantic Division race. Philly trails Toronto by one for the best overall mark in the Eastern Conference.

was peppered with 30 shots and turned aside 27 of them for the win. Esche has started the last eight games in net for the , as he is getting a golden chance to prove himself while veteran sits due to vertigo.

The improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight overall.

On the injury front, right wing is could return tonight after missing the last two games with a sprained right knee. No decision is expected to be made until at least after the morning skate.

Philadelphia, which has won two of its last three on friendly ice, will host Washington on Wednesday.

Tampa Bay has won 2-of-2 from Philadelphia so far this season, including a 6-1 pounding on January 3 in Tampa. The have won three of the last four overall in the series, and two straight at the Wachovia Center.

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