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Lightning look to extend streak, lead on Maple Leafs

by Joe Yerdon

TORONTO -- The Tampa Bay Lightning head into their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday riding a three-game winning streak. The Lightning are in the midst of a battle for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Maple Leafs and sit one point ahead of them in the Atlantic Division.

"You definitely find yourself scoreboard watching a little more now with how tight it is, especially in our division," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "You want to try to finish as high as you can to get into maybe some home-ice advantage or play a team maybe other than Boston or Pittsburgh."

The Lightning continuing their winning streak will be tricky to do against the Maple Leafs. Toronto has beaten Tampa Bay in two games this season but heads into Wednesday losers of two in a row.

"Hopefully we can take advantage of a team coming off a pretty tough road trip playing against some pretty big teams that played last night," Stamkos said. "It works both ways, sometimes you get the benefit of the schedule, sometimes you don't. We've got to start early. These guys have had our number over the past couple years."

Tampa Bay held a full morning skate and Ben Bishop was the first goalie off, signaling he will get the start.

The Maple Leafs return home after a five-game road trip (2-3-0). Goalie Jonathan Bernier remains out with a lower-body injury, and James Reimer is expected to get his third straight start. Reimer made 28 saves in the Maple Leafs' 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

"He carries a good attitude about himself," defenseman Cody Franson said of Reimer. "He's been a pro about everything. He's done a good job when he's been called upon and he's doing a good job right now."

Toronto held an optional morning skate after playing the night before. Forwards Colton Orr, Peter Holland, Carter Ashton and Dave Bolland and backup goalie Drew MacIntyre were the only players to participate; Holland was the only one of the group who played against Detroit.

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex KillornSteven StamkosTyler Johnson

Ondrej PalatValtteri FilppulaRyan Callahan

J.T. BrownTom PyattTeddy Purcell

Ryan MaloneNate ThompsonB.J. Crombeen

Victor HedmanSami Salo

Matt CarleRadko Gudas

Eric BrewerMichael Kostka

Ben Bishop

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Keith Aulie, Mark Barberio, Richard Panik, Nikita Kucherov

Injured: Brian Lee (IR – lower body), Mattias Ohlund (IR – knee)


James van RiemsdykTyler BozakPhil Kessel

Joffrey LupulNazem KadriNikolai Kulemin

Mason RaymondPeter HollandDavid Clarkson

Jay McClementTroy Bodie

Dion PhaneufCarl Gunnarsson

Jake GardinerCody Franson

Morgan RiellyTim Gleason

Paul Ranger

James Reimer

Drew MacIntyre

Scratched: Carter Ashton

Injured: Dave Bolland (IR – cut tendon), Jonathan Bernier (lower body)

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