Game 57 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs

To close out a brief excursion to the Sunshine State, the Maple Leafs will pay a visit tonight to the Lightning, which is finally home for a couple games ahead Olympic break. It will be just the second meeting between the two clubs this season.

Tonight presents an opportunity for the Bolts to avenge two frustrating (albeit for very different reasons) losses: one last week to the Leafs and the other on Tuesday to the Wild. While the first showdown with Toronto was easier to digest given a solid offensive effort (particularly on the power play) was essentially foiled by a great goaltending performance, Tampa Bay put in a mostly lackluster showing in the game against Minnesota, failing to mount much in the way of an attack until trailing by a couple goals in the final frame.

2013-2014_game-57-preview

Toronto arrives having dropped its last match as well — to Florida and in a rather ignominious fashion that didn’t sit well, understandably, with players and coaches alike. Of course, losing never feels good but the club’s latest handiwork was, apart from the result, essentially like most other games thus far throughout Randy Carlyle’s tenure. So, yes, the same analytically-driven criticisms of Toronto highlighted just last week are still as pertinent as they have been.

With the Leafs occupying a wild card slot while neck-and-neck with the Canadiens and with both nipping at the heels of Lightning, though, the alarm bells remain mostly quiet and the attention has shifted to roster machinations and trade speculation centered around Dave Bolland and Nikolai Kulemin. Sure, Toronto — with its guffaws-inducing possession indicators — has been making a serious bid to become perhaps the most remarkable outlier in recent seasons but there is time yet for its saved-by-the-goaltender routine to yield far more treacherous results.

The Lightning, on the other hand, could certainly use a couple of sharp outings in front of the home crowd after vacillating between wins and losses and, more importantly, in their underlying performance of late. With Steven Stamkos participation in the Sochi games officially nixed yesterday, the Bolts won’t be getting the hoped-for boost from its star center quite yet, so it’s up to the scrappy mix that has gotten the team this far in his absence to deliver. Wins against newly-made division rivals (Detroit comes to town on Saturday) to shore up its own position in the standings ahead of the season’s stretch run would would make for a very good note to part on for the next couple weeks. As always, it’s far easier said than done.

SEASON SERIES

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NOTES

STANDINGS

LIGHTNING
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MAPLE LEAFS
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ACTIVE ROSTERS

LIGHTNING MAPLE LEAFS
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[table “74” not found /]


STATPACK

LIGHTNING

TOTALS

TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
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GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
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PLAYER SCORING
[table “76” not found /]

RATES

TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]

PERCENTAGES

TEAM POSSESSION, SCORING & SHOOTING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]


MAPLE LEAFS

TOTALS

TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]
PLAYER SCORING
[table “76” not found /]

RATES


TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]

PERCENTAGES

TEAM POSSESSION, SCORING & SHOOTING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]


Team stats cited from Extra Skater

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