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Leafs host Lightning in battle of disappointing teams

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

Bay (21-32-14).

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

pretty happy."

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.


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