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A meeting against the Tampa Bay Lightning may be just what the Toronto Maple Leafs need to bounce back from one of their most disappointing losses this season.
The Maple Leafs continue their season-high seven-game road trip on Thursday looking to win their seventh straight game over the Lightning.
Toronto (14-13-7) had a 2-0 lead over Carolina on Tuesday, before allowing two goals in the final 1:25 of regulation. The Leafs lost 3-2 in overtime.
"It's a tough loss for us because we played a solid game except for the last two minutes," defenseman Pavel Kubina said. "With two minutes I thought it was game over."
Toronto is 1-1-1 so far on its road trip, and it tries to rebound at Tampa Bay, where it is 18-4-1 with one tie all-time.
The Leafs beat the Lightning 6-1 at home on Dec. 10. Toronto is outscoring Tampa Bay 27-12 during the winning streak in the series.
Leafs captain Mats Sundin had a goal and an assist in the win over the Lightning last week, giving him three goals and seven assists during a seven-game point streak against them. Sundin leads the Leafs with 16 goals and 24 assists this season, but has been held without a point in each of his last two games.
Sundin, the franchise leader in goals (404) and assists (545), hasn't gone without a point in three straight games since March 19-23, 2006.
Nik Antropov is second on Toronto with 15 goals and 20 assists, and has recorded a goal and an assist in each of his last three games against Tampa Bay.
The Leafs' Vesa Toskala made 26 saves in last week's win over the Lightning to improve to 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average in two career games against them. Toskala, though, has allowed seven goals in losing his last two games after giving up just six goals in his previous five
Tampa Bay (14-17-3) fell to Atlanta 6-2 on Tuesday to drop its third straight and fifth in its last six. The Lightning have allowed the third-most goals in the league (113), and have given up 18 during their three-game skid.
"We have to keep on trying. We just have to find a way to grind through this," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said.
Johan Holmqvist yielded three goals on nine shots against the Thrashers before being replaced by Marc Denis.
Holmqvist is 0-3-0 with a 6.64 GAA in his last four starts and has been pulled from three of them. In his first career game against Toronto last week, he gave up four goals on 22 shots before being replaced midway through the second period by Denis, stopped five of seven shots.
Denis is just 1-5-0 with a 4.05 GAA in 10 games this season, and 1-4-0 with a 2.95 GAA in seven career games against Toronto.
Vincent Lecavalier, who leads league in scoring with 51 points, was held scoreless on Tuesday after recording three goals and three assists in his last three games. Lecavalier looks get back on track at the St. Pete Times Forum, where he has six goals and eight assists during a seven-game points streak.
The Lightning have dropped three straight games at home following an 11-3-1 start.