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Lightning get Filppula back against Maple Leafs

Tampa Bay looking to draw even in points with first-place Florida in Atlantic

by Corey Long / Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (27-36-11) at LIGHTNING (43-27-5)

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SNO, SUN, NHL.TV

TAMPA -- Positioning for the Stanley Cup Playoffs continues to be the main focus for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who will get forward Valtteri Filppula back in the lineup when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Amalie Arena on Monday.

Tampa Bay trails the Florida Panthers by two points for first place in the Atlantic Division and lead the third-place Boston Bruins by three points. The Panthers, who beat the Lightning 5-2 on Saturday, will have a game in hand after Monday.

Toronto will play Florida on Tuesday.

Filppula returns after missing the past six games. He will move into the center position on the top line and Stamkos will move to the right wing.

Forwards Ryan Callahan and Nikita Kucherov will not play Monday. Callahan is missing his fifth game with a lower-body injury. Kucherov did not play Saturday after taking a puck off his foot.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said they have to treat every game like the playoffs right now.

"The past couple of weeks they have had some new faces in the lineup that are bringing energy," Stamkos said of the Maple Leafs. "They have beaten some pretty good teams. They are playing for jobs and we're playing for a playoff spot. You can argue that one thing is just as important as the other. We went into Toronto a few weeks ago and got beat."

The Lightning lost to Toronto 4-1 on March 15 at the Air Canada Centre in a performance several players described as embarrassing. Cooper said it comes down to the old cliché that on any given night an upset can happen.

"[Toronto] has NHL players like every other team," Cooper said. "If you don't come prepared to play you can be beat. They have all been relatively close games."

Toronto is last in the League in points but 6-3-1 in its past 10 games. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop said the Maple Leafs are playing loose and with nothing to lose.

"They are not going out on the ice messing around," Bishop said. "They are in a tryout-like atmosphere and going 110 miles an hour. They have a good power play, so we have to make sure we don't give them much out there."

Garret Sparks will be in goal for the Maple Leafs. He is 6-4-1 this season with a 2.73 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.

Here are the projected lineups:

Milan Michalek - Nazem Kadri - Michael Grabner
Zach Hyman - William Nylander - P.A. Parenteau
Brad Boyes - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Colin Greening - Brooks Laich - Ben Smith

Martin Marincin - Morgan Rielly
Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick
Rinat Valiev - Frank Corrado

Garret Sparks
Jonathan Bernier

Injured: Leo Komarov (lower body), Peter Holland (upper body), Nikita Soshnikov (upper body), Matt Hunwick (sports hernia), James van Riemsdyk (foot), Joffrey Lupul (sports hernia), Byron Froese (hand), Stephane Robidas (knee), Viktor Loov (upper body)
Scratched: None

Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Steven Stamkos
Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Jonathan Marchessault
Cedric Paquette - Vladislav Namestnikov - J.T. Brown
Erik Condra - Brian Boyle - Mike Blunden

Victor Hedman - Matthew Carle
Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr
Nikita Nesterov - Braydon Coburn

Ben Bishop
Andrei Vasilevskiy

Injured: Anton Stralman (fractured fibula), Nikita Kucherov (foot), Ryan Callahan (lower body)
Scratched: Slater Koekkoek, Joel Vermin

Status report: Cooper had no further updates on Callahan or Kucherov. Callahan skated in a gray jersey Monday. Vermin remained with the team as an emergency call-up.

Who's hot: Johnson has two goals and two assists in the past four games. … Smith scored the Maple Leafs' only goal in a 3-1 loss to Boston on Saturday.

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