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Lightning can hear teams creeping up behind them

by Lonnie Herman

TAMPA -- If the Tampa Bay Lightning hear footsteps, it's simply because teams are sneaking up on them in the standings.

The Lightning return home to the Tampa Bay Times Forum after a four-game road trip when they were 1-3-0. Their opponents in their final two games heading into the Olympic break, the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday and the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, are seeking to close the gap and overtake them in the standings.

First it's the streaking Maple Leafs, who are on a 9-2-1 run to climb to within three points of the Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

The Maple Leafs held an optional morning skate Thursday and are expected to start Jonathan Bernier in goal. Bernier made 44 saves in the Maple Leafs' 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

The Lightning will have Ben Bishop in goal. He took the loss the prior time these teams played, making 23 saves in a 3-2 decision Jan. 28.

Here are the projected lineups:


James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Joffrey Lupul - Nazem Kadri - Nikolai Kulemin

Mason Raymond - Jay McClement - David Clarkson

Frazer McLaren - Jerred Smithson - Colton Orr

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf

Tim Gleason - Cody Franson

Jake Gardiner - Morgan Rielly

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Scratched: Troy Bodie, Paul Ranger

Injured: Carter Ashton (wrist), Dave Bolland (ankle), Peter Holland (foot), Trevor Smith (hand)


Martin St. Louis - Tyler Johnson - Ondrej Palat

Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Teddy Purcell

J.T. Brown - Nate Thoompson - Nikita Kucherov

B.J. Crombeen - Ryan Malone

Eric Brewer - Radko Gudas

Sami Salo - Victor Hedman

Matthew Carle - Mark Barberio

Jean-Philippe Cote

Ben Bishop

Cedrick Desjardins

Scratched: Keith Aulie, Tom Pyatt

Injured: Steven Stamkos (leg), Anders Lindback (lower body)

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