Tampa Bay (21-32-14) at Toronto (27-28-13), 7:30 p.m. EDT
TORONTO (Ticker) — If the Toronto Maple Leafs want to end a
three-game skid against the last-place Tampa Bay Lightning, then
Ron Wilson’s club must find a way to keep the puck out of the
net when shorthanded.
The Maple Leafs will try to end that slide against the Southeast
Division’s worst team on Thursday night at the Air Canada
Toronto (27-28-13) has been outscored, 12-8, during the skid,
but seven of Tampa Bay’s goals have come with the man advantage.
Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and rookie Steven Stamkos
are the only members of the Lightning on the current roster to
score such a goal.
The Lightning are 7-for-13 on the power play in their last three
games vs. the Maple Leafs, but there’s been little that has been
positive for Tampa Bay in 2008-09.
On Tuesday, defenseman Cory Murphy and Adam Hall scored on the
power play, but the Lightning fell 3-2 in overtime at Ottawa.
It was the fourth straight loss and 15th in 19 games for Tampa
Tampa Bay is 3-for-13 on the power play during its skid.
“We played hard,” Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet said. “I
don’t think we gave them much, and the goals that they did get,
they were opportunistic.”
As they have done for most of the season, Lecavalier and St.
Louis have carried the offense.
Lecavalier has recorded five straight multi-point games against
Toronto, totaling four goals and six assists. The top overall
pick in 1998 leads the club with 28 goals and is second with 63
Linemate St. Louis had one of his best games of the season on
February 12 against the Leafs, posting a goal and three assists
in a 6-4 win.
St. Louis also has points in seven of his last eight games, with
four goals and seven assists over that stretch. He leads Tampa
Bay with 42 assists and 66 points.
After being limited to a total of two goals in losses to
Edmonton and Ottawa, the Maple Leafs posted a 3-2 overtime win
at home over the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
Alexei Ponikarovsky scored the tying goal with just over 11
minutes to play in regulation and assisted on Mikhail
Grabovski’s game-winner 50 seconds into the extra session.
“The coach had faith in me and gave me a chance to play in
overtime,” said Grabovski, who tallied his 14th goal to end a
17-game drought. “It’s my first career goal in overtime, so I’m
Lee Stempniak also scored for the Leafs. He leads Toronto with
two goals against Tampa Bay this season.
Martin Gerber stopped 28 shots in the win and improved to 2-1-0
with a 2.00 goals-against average since being picked up off
waivers from Ottawa on March 4. Gerber’s only shutout this
season came against Tampa Bay on December 13, when he made 24
saves in the Senators’ 2-0 victory.