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Lightning-Maple Leafs Preview @NHL
Lightning-Maple Leafs Preview

GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (7-5-2) at Toronto Maple Leafs (6-5-2).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Toronto Maple Leafs hope to have captain Mats Sundin back in their lineup when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Sundin has sat out 12 straight games since being struck in the eye with a puck seven minutes into the season opener. He missed only 23 games due to injury in his first 10 years with Toronto.

Sundin returned to practice on Wednesday and traveled with the Maple Leafs to North Carolina for their game against the Hurricanes on Thursday, but didn't dress.

"It's been frustrating," said Sundin, who has 49 points in 36 games against Tampa Bay in his career. "Especially coming off a year with no hockey, preparing hard for the season and then ending up out four weeks. But it's exciting to get going again."

Toronto took a 3-2 lead into the third period against Carolina, but lost 4-3.

"We can't win games like that at the end, and if we think we can, we're fooling ourselves," said Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn, whose team has dropped three of four. "In the last 10 minutes, they didn't pick anything up, we just gave them a lot of room. Our forwards didn't do much in the offensive zone except get caught."

Tampa Bay won a season-high three straight to end October, but is winless in two games this month after a 4-2 loss in Ottawa on Thursday.

The Lightning came back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game on goals by Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier, but the Senators put the game away with two goals in the third period.

"We can't put our heads down after this one," Lecavalier said. "We came back, we played well offensively, we were skating. ... It was a great hockey game on both sides, but we didn't get a chance to finish them off after we tied it."

Toronto is 17-4-2 against the Lightning since the 1998-99 season.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 4): Lightning - 16 points, 2nd place, 3 PB, Southeast Division. Maple Leafs - 14 points, 4th place (tied), 7 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - Lecavalier, 9 goals; Vaclav Prospal, 11 assists and 19 points; Pavel Kubina, 26 PIM. Maple Leafs - Eric Lindros, 8 goals; Bryan McCabe, 12 assists and 15 points; Wade Belak, 33 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 4): Lightning - Power play: 13.0 percent (12 for 92), 27th in NHL. Penalty killing: 89.7 percent (61 for 68), 3rd. Maple Leafs - Power play: 24.7 percent (21 for 85), 2nd. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (67 for 79), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Lightning - John Grahame (5-5-1, 1 SO, 2.67 GAA); Sean Burke (2-0-1, 1.56). Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (5-4-2, 3.55); Mikael Tellqvist (1-1-0, 2.73).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 23, 2004; Lightning, 7-2. At Toronto, seven different players scored to lead the Lightning.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 4-2-1 on the road; Maple Leafs - 4-3-1 at home.

Associated Press
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