Lightning-Maple Leafs Preview
The Tampa Bay Lightning are still out of the playoff picture in
the Eastern Conference, but they’ve been working their way back
The Toronto Maple Leafs need to improve their penalty killing or
they could keep heading in the opposite direction.
The Lightning go for a season-high fourth consecutive victory
when they try to extend their point streak in Toronto to eight
A game from advancing to its second Stanley Cup finals last
season, Tampa Bay (17-17-3) closed out 2011 in 12th place in the
East with 37 points – four back of 10th-place Toronto
The Lightning, though, are riding a 5-1-1 surge that has
followed a 1-7-0 skid.
The hot streak has been due in part to center Steven Stamkos,
who helped Tampa Bay close out a 3-0-0 homestand Saturday with his
fifth career hat trick. He has netted 10 of his league-leading 26
goals in the last eight contests.
“He is pretty hot,” right wing Martin St. Louis said of
Stamkos, who has 17 points in 13 games versus Toronto. “He’s
So is St. Louis, who has three goals and seven assists during a
seven-game point streak.
The Lightning are also hoping for continued production from
Steve Downie as they open a three-game trip through Canada. Downie
leads the club with seven points during the winning streak.
Tampa Bay last won four in a row during a five-game run March
The Lightning lost 7-1 at home to the Leafs on Nov. 22, but they
have gone 5-0-2 in Toronto since a 6-1 defeat Dec. 10, 2007.
The Leafs, who snapped a four-game skid to Tampa Bay in the
November matchup, will try to rebound from a 1-2-1 trip as they
open a stretch of nine of 10 at Air Canada Centre. Toronto, though,
has gone 5-5-4 on home ice since winning its first three there this
Better special teams play could help the Leafs end their season
high-tying three-game slide. They have killed off a league-worst
72.4 percent of penalties after surrendering a pair of power-play
goals in a 3-2 loss to Winnipeg on Saturday.
“It’s obviously something we work on a lot and talk about a lot
and we’re trying to get better at,” James Reimer said after making
If Reimer gets his seventh consecutive start, it will be the
first time he faces Tampa Bay since giving up five goals in the
Lightning’s last visit, a 6-2 loss March 14.
Reimer is 0-2-0 with a 3.92 goals-against average in this
Teammate Jonas Gustavsson is 2-0-3 with a 2.54 GAA against the
Lightning after stopping 27 shots Nov. 22.
Dwayne Roloson gave up six goals in that contest to snap his
four-game winning streak against Toronto, while Mathieu Garon
stopped four of five shots as a third-period replacement.
Garon, who has started Tampa Bay’s last seven games, is 1-1-0
with a 3.94 GAA in three starts in Toronto.
Leafs leading scorer Phil Kessel ended a four-game point drought
against the Lightning with an assist on one of Tyler Bozak’s two
goals Nov. 22.
Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul scored in that game to extend his point
streak against Tampa Bay to six. He has two goals and five assists
during that stretch.