|TBL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|TOR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
The Tampa Bay Lightning have done enough on their longest road trip of the season to stay in the race for a division title.
They'll try to conclude their six-game trip on a high note Tuesday, but it won't be easy when they face a Toronto Maple Leafs club that has dominated them over the years.
The Lightning (39-27-4) are jockeying with Atlanta for first in the Southeast Division, and the two teams meet in the final game of the season. Tampa Bay improved to 3-2-0 on the trip by beating Edmonton and Calgary, the last two Western Conference champions, in its previous two contests.
The Lightning defeated the Flames 3-2 in overtime Saturday night in a rematch of the 2004 Stanley Cup finals. Dan Boyle scored in the extra period for Tampa Bay, which trailed 2-1 entering the third.
Boyle converted when Martin St. Louis fed the puck down low to Vincent Lecavalier, who threaded a cross-crease pass to Boyle.
"I just tried to get open and get ready for and make contact with it," Boyle said. "I got all of it really. It's always nice to play with guys that can put the puck on your stick. It makes it easier for everybody."
Lecavalier scored his league-leading 46th goal to go with the assist on Boyle's winner. Lecavalier has registered a point in each game of the road trip and has 12 goals and 23 points in his last 14 games, leading the Lightning to a 9-3-2 mark in that span.
He has a goal in all three games against Toronto this season and is riding a 10-game point streak (eight goals, eight assists) against the Maple Leafs.
Tampa Bay, though, will likely be tested by a Toronto club that has made the series very one-sided in recent years. The Leafs are also coming off an emotional victory that they hope will help propel them back into playoff position.
Toronto (33-27-9) rallied from a two-goal deficit and beat Ottawa 4-3 in overtime Saturday night, salvaging the back end of a home-and-home series with the Senators.
"It could be one of the turning points of the season," said forward Darcy Tucker, who scored the winner. "There's lots of ups and downs in a season and we've had a lot of injuries. There's a lot of nice stories that can come out of our season if we play like we did tonight and get into the playoffs."
Leafs coach Paul Maurice is hoping his team can carry the emotion of Saturday's victory into Tuesday, and his club has won all three meetings with Tampa Bay this season and 14 of the last 19 in the series, including eight of nine in Toronto.
Maurice, though, knows extending that dominance will be tough against a Lightning club led by Lecavalier and St. Louis. Both players are in the top 5 in the NHL in scoring.
"I'm very, very hopeful," Maurice said after Saturday's victory. "But I also know we're going to be back at it on Tuesday. You say you're hoping for that turning point but our task at hand is we going to face two of the best shooters in the world on Tuesday."
The Maple Leafs are 10th in the Eastern Conference with 75 points, one behind the eighth-place New York Rangers and Carolina, and two behind the seventh-place Islanders.
After facing the Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay plays eight of its final 11 games at home.
|Mar 13 '07||TBL 2 at TOR 3||N. Antropov|
|Jan 16 '07||TOR 4 at TBL 2||A. Steen|
|Dec 12 '06||TBL 4 at TOR 5||J. O'Neill|
|Nov 01 '06||TOR 4 at TBL 2||I. White|