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Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning @NHLdotcom
Maple Leafs-Lightning Preview

GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (34-18-9-3) at Tampa Bay Lightning (33-17-7-5).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

Coming off a pair of lackluster performances, the Toronto Maple Leafs will face a team that will force them to wake up in a hurry.

Toronto hopes to avoid its third straight loss as it visits the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Trailing Ottawa in the Northeast Division by one point, the Maple Leafs are coming off back-to-back losses to teams below .500. Toronto was topped by Carolina 2-1 on Monday and followed it up with Wednesday's 4-0 loss to Atlanta.

"We're struggling a little bit right now," said Leafs forward Alexander Mogilny. "We can't put the puck in the net and we're not playing well defensively. We've got to play with a little more urgency."

The Leafs, who fired 33 shots on Florida goalie Roberto Luongo, allowed two goals in a 30-second span of the third period that put the game out of reach.

"One shift and two bad goals, really, from a checking standpoint and that is how you lose," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "It's not a 4-0 game. It should have been different, but we made it into a 4-0 game."

Tampa Bay, which has lost in regulation just twice in its last 24 games (17-2-1-4), is coming off Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers.

Vincent Lecavalier scored the go-ahead goal on a breakaway with 1:24 remaining. Lecavalier has 26 goals in his last 18 games.

Tampa Bay has been held to fewer than four goals just six times in its last 15 games.

STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 80 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Northeast Division. Lightning - 78 points, 1st place, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Mats Sundin and Gary Roberts, 22 goals; Mats Sundin, 37 assists and 59 points; Tie Domi, 163 PIM. Lightning - Martin St. Louis, 30 goals, 42 assists and 72 points; Chris Dingman, 124 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 24): Maple Leafs - Power play: 19.3 percent (57 for 296), 6th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.6 (262 for 305), 13th. Lightning - Power play: 17.2 percent (45 for 262), 10th. Penalty killing: 85.2 percent (179 for 210), 8th.

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Trevor Kidd (5-4-2, 1 SO, 3.15 GAA); Mikael Tellqvist (5-2-2, 0, 2.85). Lightning - Nikolai Khabibulin (18-15-6, 2, 2.38); John Grahame (15-7-1, 1, 1.86).

SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 1-0-1.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 10; Tie, 4-4, OT. At Tampa Bay, Gary Roberts scored with 44.4 seconds as the Leafs came back from two goals down in the third period.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 18-8-7-1 on the road; Lightning - 16-7-4-2 at home.

Associated Press
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