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Bolts seek fifth in a row against Leafs

by Brian Compton /
MAPLE LEAFS (19-24-5) at LIGHTNING (30-15-5)


Last 10: Toronto 5-4-1; Tampa Bay 6-4-0.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. Tampa Bay has won the two first matchups and has outscored Toronto by an 8-3 margin along the way. Both of those games took place in a three-week span back in November.

Big Story: The Lightning didn't even qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. Fifty games into the 2010-11 campaign, the Bolts are 15 games above the .500 mark and atop the Southeast Division as they enter Tuesday's action two points ahead of the Washington Capitals. The Lightning are also seeking their fifth straight victory.

"In the NHL, it's fractions of seconds that make the difference between being great and being poor," said Lightning coach Guy Boucher, an early favorite to win the Jack Adams Award. "When you get that fraction of a second, it makes all the difference in the world."

Team Scope:

Maple Leafs: Toronto will be looking to avoid a third straight loss after suffering a 6-4 defeat at Carolina on Monday night. Tim Brent scored two third-period goals for the Maple Leafs, who got within 5-4 on Mike Brown's power-play goal with 5:45 to go. But Erik Cole's empty-netter in the final minute sealed the victory for the Hurricanes.

"It's disappointing,'' Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf said. "We fought back, gave ourselves a chance to win the game and then they come back and bang, bang. We had a lot of fight in us tonight to come back, but it's still disappointing to lose those points that are right there for us.''

Lightning: Tampa Bay made it four in a row on Sunday when it pummeled the Atlanta Thrashers by a 7-1 score at the St. Pete Times Forum. Simon Gagne scored twice, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos each had goals, and Pavel Kubina, Dana Tyrell and Nate Thompson also tallied for the Bolts, who swept the six-game season series.

"Sometimes, that's the way it is," Gagne said. "For us this year, we've had their number."

Who's Hot: With his pair of goals on Monday, Brent now has three in his last two games. He also had an assist against the 'Canes. … Gagne has five goals in his last seven games for Tampa Bay, while St. Louis reached the 20-goal plateau on Sunday for an eighth straight season.
Injury Report: Toronto will be without John Mitchell (MCL) and Colton Orr (head). … The Lightning are expected to be without Ryan Malone (undisclosed). He's listed as day-to-day.

Stat Pack: Tampa Bay's six-goal margin of victory against Atlanta was the largest since it beat the Thrashers 8-0 on Dec. 7, 2006. Of the Bolts' seven largest margins of victory in franchise history, four of them have come against Atlanta.

Puck Drop: "I'm proud to be a part of the Lightning. I've had so many good memories here in Tampa. I've always said that I want to finish my career here with the Lightning and I plan to keep that promise." -- Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier

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