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Point to make season debut for Tampa Bay against Toronto

by Dave McCarthy / Independent Correspondent

LIGHTNING (1-1-1) at MAPLE LEAFS (2-1-1)


The Game

Brayden Point will make his season debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday.

The 23-year-old center, who had an NHL career-high 92 points (41 goals, 51 assists) in 79 games last season, missed the Lightning's first three games recovering from offseason hip surgery. He is two points from from 200 in the NHL.

Goalie Frederik Andersen will make his fourth start of the season for the Maple Leafs, who are 0-1-1 since winning two straight to start the season.

Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in goal for the Lightning after backing up Curtis McElhinney in a 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.

Players to watch

Lightning forward Steven Stamkos has scored in each of his past two games. He has 44 points (19 goals, 25 assists) in 39 career games against the Maple Leafs.

Maple Leafs forward William Nylander has four points (two goals, two assists) during a four-game point streak. He did not score his second goal last season until his 24th game.

They said it

"It's a lot of skating. They're a good skating team so it'll test the wind and test the legs early. I'm just looking to try to play simple and contribute in whatever way I can." -- Lightning forward Brayden Point

"It'll be interesting to see how they are. They're good players. (Tampa Bay forwards Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov) can really shoot it. I'm not sure there's going to be enough puck to go around, we'll find out. They've got good depth in Tampa. I don't think anybody is surprised by that." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on the Lightning's top line of Brayden Point, Stamkos and Kucherov

Lightning projected lineup

Steven Stamkos -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat -- Anthony Cirelli -- Alex Killorn

Mathieu Joseph -- Tyler Johnson -- Yanni Gourde

Pat Maroon -- Carter Verhaeghe -- Luke Witkowski

Victor Hedman -- Braydon Coburn

Ryan McDonagh -- Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Jan Rutta

Injured: Cedric Paquette (upper body)

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Kasperi Kapanen -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Andreas Johnsson -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Ilya Mikheyev -- Alexander Kerfoot -- Trevor Moore

Nic Petan -- Jason Spezza -- Frederik Gauthier

Morgan Rielly -- Cody Ceci

Jake Muzzin -- Tyson Barrie

Rasmus Sandin -- Justin Holl

Frederik Andersen

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Nicholas Shore, Dmytro Timashov, Martin Marincin

Injured: Zach Hyman (ACL), Travis Dermott (shoulder)

Status report

Each team had an optional morning skate. … The Maple Leafs will use the same lineup as they did for their 3-2 loss against the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

Stat pack

Shattenkirk has three points (two goals, one assist) during a three-game point streak. … Hedman, who will play in his 700th NHL game, has three assists during a three-game point streak. … Ceci has three points (one goal, two assists) during a three-game point streak.

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