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Lightning at Maple Leafs preview

Hedman day to day for Tampa Bay; Rielly back for Toronto after missing 23 games with fractured foot

by Dave McCarthy / Independent Correspondent

LIGHTNING (43-20-6) at MAPLE LEAFS (35-25-9)

7 p.m. ET; TVAS, TSN4, SUN, NHL.TV 


The Game

Morgan Rielly will return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday.

The defenseman has missed the past 23 games with a fractured foot; the Maple Leafs were 11-9-3 without him.

Toronto, 0-2-1 in its past three games after going 4-1-0 in the previous five, can extend its one-point lead on the Florida Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division. 

Defenseman Victor Hedman will miss his second straight game for the Lightning because of a lower-body injury and is day to day.

Tampa Bay, 3-5-1 in its past nine games following a Lightning-record 11-game winning streak, is seven points behind the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins.


Players to watch

Lightning center Brayden Point has four points (two goals, two assists) in a three-game point streak.

Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past six games.


They said it

"When you're taking out 25 minutes, all your special teams, a driving force that can affect the game, it has an effect. There's a hole when he's not there." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper on defenseman Victor Hedman, who's day to day with a lower-body injury

"There were lots of ups and downs. This time of year that's not a good thing necessarily, you want to be a little more consistent than we have been. It's tough to watch, no question about it. … Hopefully I'll be able to contribute now in a positive way. We have 13 games left so it's time to be more consistent and play a brand of hockey that will work for us in the playoffs." -- Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly


Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Blake Coleman

Alex Killorn -- Anthony Cirelli -- Nikita Kucherov

Carter Verhaeghe -- Tyler Johnson -- Yanni Gourde

Pat Maroon -- Cedric Paquette -- Barclay Goodrow

Ryan McDonagh -- Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Braydon Coburn -- Zach Bogosian

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Mitchell Stephens, Luke Schenn

Injured: Jan Rutta (lower body), Steven Stamkos (core muscle), Victor Hedman (lower body)


Maple Leafs projected lineup   

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Kasperi Kapanen -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Pierre Engvall -- Alexander Kerfoot -- Denis Malgin

Kyle Clifford -- Frederik Gauthier -- Jason Spezza

Morgan Rielly -- Cody Ceci

Travis Dermott -- Justin Holl

Rasmus Sandin -- Tyson Barrie

Frederik Andersen

Jack Campbell

Scratched: Calle Rosen

Injured: Ilya Mikheyev (wrist laceration), Andreas Johnsson (meniscus), Jake Muzzin (broken hand)


Status report

Hedman took part in the morning skate but Cooper said he is not quite ready to return. ... Mikheyev, a forward, practiced with the Maple Leafs on Monday and Muzzin, a defenseman, skated on his own after practice. There is no timeline for the return of either player.


Stat pack

Kucherov has 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists) in his past 23 games, with at least one point in 22 of them, and 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) in 25 games against Toronto. ... Marner has gone two games without a point for the third time this season. He has yet to go three games without one.

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