Toronto in 2012-13:
The Maple Leafs secured their first playoff berth since the 2003-04 campaign and finished with a 26-17-5 record for 57 points under first-year Toronto coach, Randy Carlyle. As the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, Toronto battled the fourth-seeded Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, forcing a Game 7, but would ultimately face defeat as Boston tallied a trio of goals in the final 11 minutes of play to force overtime and the eventual win.
Last earning a 5-2 win against Toronto during the final week of the 2012-13 regular season on April 24, the Bolts finished the season going 2-1-0 against the Maple Leafs. Tampa Bay has recorded a 25-39-2-6 record all-time versus the Leafs in 72 games since the Lightning entered the NHL for the 1992-93 regular season.
Forward Phil Kessel led Toronto’s offense last season with 20 goals and 32 assists (52 points), while 22-year-old Nazem Kadri blossomed during his first full season with the Maple Leafs, producing the second-most points (44) on the team. Despite collapsing during the third period in Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs, goaltender James Reimer proved solid when healthy by posting his best save percentage (.924) and goals-against average (2.46) in three seasons with Toronto. Reimer was also sixth in the NHL in shutouts (4).
Tampa Bay is slated to face Toronto four times in 2013-14.
Key Acquisitions and Departures:
Backup goalie Ben Scrivens and forward Matt Frattin were dealt to the Los Angeles Kings for 24-year-old Kings’ netminder Jonathan Bernier, who served as backup for Jonathan Quick since the 2007-08 season. In 62 career games, Bernier has posted a .912 save percentage and 2.36 goals-against average with a 29-20-6 record. The Maple Leafs also acquired forward Dave Bolland from the 2012-13 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a second and fourth-round pick in 2013 and a fourth-round pick in 2014.
In the System:
Center Frederick Gautheir was drafted by Toronto in the first round (21st overall) from the Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL and also tallied four points (one goal, three assists) for Canada during the World U-18 Championships last season. The fifth-overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Leafs, blueliner Morgan Rielly appeared in 14 games with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies last season with one goal and two assists, while fellow Marlies’ teammate, center Joe Colborne, was second on the team for points (42) and played in five games with the parent club.
Tampa Bay Ties On The Leafs:
A member of the 2011-12 Norfolk Admirals Calder Cup-winning team, defenseman Michael Kostka played 52 games with the Lightning’s AHL affiliate that season after being traded from the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage.
The Maple Leafs will join the Lightning for the first season as part of the Atlantic Division, which is a product of the newly-aligned Eastern Conference that now has two eight-team divisions. Tampa Bay is slated to face Toronto four times in 2013-14, including twice at the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, January 28 and Wednesday, March 19. The game scheduled on January 28 will be the first meeting between the two clubs during the regular season. The Bolts will host the Leafs for the first time on Thursday, February 6 and again on Tuesday, April 8.