Maple Leafs Aim To Move Ahead Of Lightning
LIGHTNING (37-24-7) at MAPLE LEAFS (36-26-8)
TV: TSN, RDS2, SUN, TSN Radio 1050
Last 10: Tampa Bay 4-4-2; Toronto 4-4-2
Season series: This is the third of four games between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning. Toronto has won the first two, including a 4-1 victory in Tampa on Feb. 6.
Big story: The Maple Leafs missed a chance to move past the Lightning and into third place in the Atlantic Division when they lost 3-2 against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. With 80 points, Toronto holds the first of two Eastern Conference wild-card spots for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Lightning sit in third place in the Atlantic at 81 points after the Montreal Canadiens beat the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday to move two points ahead of them. The Canadiens have played two more games than the Lightning, who were idle Tuesday.
Lightning: Tampa Bay has won three straight games following an 0-3-2 stretch. The Lightning earned at least a point in the final five of a six-game homestand.
"We've got points in five consecutive games at a time when we really need them, so hopefully this is some good momentum heading on the road," coach Jon Cooper said following a 4-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.
After the game in Toronto, the Lightning will play road games against the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins before returning to the Tampa Bay Times Forum next Monday, when they host the Senators.
Center Steven Stamkos has two goals in his past three games after being kept off the scoresheet in each of his first three games back from a broken leg.
Maple Leafs: Toronto completed its five-game road trip with a 2-3-0 record. The Maple Leafs could have moved into third place in the Atlantic with a win against the Red Wings, but Gustav Nyquist scored two goals and Jimmy Howard stopped 31 of 33 shots to lead Detroit to the win.
James van Riemsdyk scored his 27th goal of the season with 1:13 left in the third period to get Toronto within a goal, but van Riemsdyk's bid to send the game to overtime with four seconds left fell short.
The Maple Leafs lost two in a row and three of four after opening its road trip with a 3-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks.
"We have to come to play [Thursday] and get the two points," said defenseman Jake Gardiner, who scored Toronto’s other goal in Detroit.
Who's hot: Tampa Bay left wing Ondrej Palat is on a five-game point streak (four goals, five assists). Right wing Ryan Callahan has four points (three assists) in six games since being acquired from the New York Rangers at the NHL Trade Deadline. … Toronto left wing Mason Raymond has four points (three assists) in the past four games. Van Riemsdyk has a point in four of the past five games; he has a goal and three assists over that span.