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The Toronto Maple Leafs appear to have the perfect send-off before embarking on their longest road trip of the season - a home date against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Maple Leafs look to carry some momentum into their lengthy road trip Monday when they try to continue their dominance over the Lightning as they meet in Toronto.
After scoring 17 goals in winning their previous four games, the Maple Leafs (12-12-6) lost 2-1 to Boston on Saturday.
Toronto had opportunities to get back in the game with two power-play opportunities late in the third period, but could not convert. The Leafs finished 0-for-6 with the man advantage, and are one of the worst power-play teams in the league, converting just 13.0 percent (18-of-138).
"It's obviously frustrating," said Jason Blake, who scored his fourth goal on Saturday. "We had some chances.
"We can't let this loss linger too long. We've got a tough game against Tampa Bay on Monday night, and we've just got to get right back at it."
This will be Toronto's first meeting of the season with the Lightning after sweeping the season series over them in 2006-07 for the sixth time in nine seasons.
The Leafs have won five straight over Tampa Bay, and 26 of the last 34 meetings (26-5-1 and two ties). Toronto is also 13-2-0 with one tie against the Lightning at home since 1997-98.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has lost four straight road games, and is a NHL-worst 2-10-1 on the road.
Mats Sundin, who leads the Leafs with 22 assists and 36 points, was held without a point for just the fifth time in 30 games on Saturday. He has not been pointless in consecutive games all season, and has a six-game points streak against the Lightning (two goals, six assists).
Nik Antropov, who is tied with Sundin for the team lead in goals with 14, was also held off the scoresheet on Saturday after recording his first hat trick since Dec. 20, 1999, in Thursday's 6-2 win over the New York Rangers. Antropov has five goals and three assists in his last seven games against the Lightning.
Goaltender Vesa Toskala made 18 saves in the loss, but is still 4-1-0 with a 1.81 goals-against average since Nov. 29. Toskala, who spent the last five seasons with San Jose, stopped 21 shots in his only career game against the Lightning, a 3-1 victory on Jan. 16, 2006.
After this game, the Leafs open a season-high seven-game road trip in Atlanta on Friday. They don't return home until Dec. 29, when they host the Rangers.
The Lightning (13-13-3) lost to the New York Islanders 3-2 in overtime on Saturday, snapping their three-game winning streak.
Brad Richards tied the game at 1 early in the third, and then got Tampa Bay even again with his second goal of the game during a 5-on-3 power play with 6:21 left in regulation. The Lightning could not get anything going in overtime, though, taking two penalties as they were outshot 7-1.
"We battled," said Richards, who has three goals and two assists in his last four games against Toronto. "It was a great effort. We got one point. We would have liked to have two, but we couldn't get that done."
Vincent Lecavalier, who leads the NHL with 45 points, assisted on Richards' second goal on Saturday. Although the Lightning have had little success against the Leafs lately, Lecavalier has put up stellar numbers against them, recording eight goals and nine assists during an 11-game points streak against Toronto.
Johan Holmqvist made 30 saves against the Islanders, and is 3-0-1 with a 1.93 GAA this month. In his lone start against Toronto on Dec. 12, Holmqvist made 20 saves in a 5-4 loss.