National Hockey League
Preview
Toronto at Tampa Bay
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, March 5, 2015
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida

Captain Steven Stamkos posted eight goals in the last nine games and looks to stay hot when his Tampa Bay Lightning host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night. Stamkos scored for the third straight game when the Lightning blanked Buffalo 3-0 on Tuesday and the Markham, Ontario native boasts 15 goals and 29 points in 23 career games versus Toronto. The Maple Leafs have won three of the last five and snapped a 16-game road losing streak (0-14-2) in Tuesday's 3-2 victory at Florida.

Toronto’s win over the Panthers was only its fifth since Jan. 1 after getting 40 saves from Jonathan Bernier, who is 3-0-0 with a .952 save percentage lifetime against Tampa Bay. Lightning No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop suffered a minor injury at the morning skate Tuesday and rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 28 shots for his first NHL shutout. Tampa Bay plays eight of the next 10 games at home where it is 24-6-1 while the Maple Leafs are 8-20-5 on the road.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, SNET-Ontario and TVA (Toronto), Sun Sports (Tampa Bay)

ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (26-33-5): It has been a frustrating couple of months for Toronto, but now that the trade deadline has passed it could become a looser team and a pest. The Maple Leafs knocked off three teams battling for playoff spots in the span of 11 days, getting goals from Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri and Peter Holland against Florida. Phil Kessel is still an offensive force with a team-leading 51 points and James van Riemsdyk (46) has reached the 20-goal plateau for the third time in his career with 22.

ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (39-20-6): Defenseman Braydon Coburn had three hits, two blocks and seven penalty minutes in his debut Tuesday after being acquired from Philadelphia. “Come in and lay a big hit and get in a scrap, gets your fans on your side right away,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper told reporters. “I thought he was steady.” Coburn played with Jason Garrison primarily while Victor Hedman moved back into a standout pairing with Anton Stralman and recorded a point for the fourth time in five games.

OVERTIME

1. Garrison has produced five assists and owns a plus-5 rating over his last six outings.

2. Toronto D Eric Brewer, acquired from Anaheim on Monday, could make his Maple Leafs debut against the team with which he started the season.

3. Tampa Bay has shown some signs of improvement on the power play while converting 6-of-19 chances the last five contests.

PREDICTION: Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 2

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Toronto 26-33-2-3 W1 18-13-0-0 8-20-2-3 1-1-0-0 25-32-2-3 9-9-1-1
Tampa Bay 39-20-2-4 W1 24-6-0-1 15-14-2-3 2-3-0-0 37-17-2-4 12-3-0-2
Last Meeting
Toronto Tampa Bay
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
12/29/14 TOR 2 TB 3 23 38 0-2 41 21 1-4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Toronto T. Bozak 1
Tampa Bay R. Callahan 2
Goals Player  
Toronto J. Lupul 1
Tampa Bay R. Callahan 1
Assists Player  
Toronto T. Bozak 1
Tampa Bay V. Hedman 2
Saves Player  
Toronto J. Reimer 38
Tampa Bay B. Bishop 21
Season
Total Points Player  
Toronto P. Kessel 55
Tampa Bay T. Johnson 64
Goals Player  
Toronto J. Van Riemsdyk 26
Tampa Bay S. Stamkos 37
Assists Player  
Toronto P. Kessel 31
Tampa Bay T. Johnson 40
Saves Player  
Toronto J. Bernier 1295
Tampa Bay B. Bishop 1218
Quickchart Matchup
Toronto Off vs  Tampa Bay Def
2.66 GF
2.57 GA
29.3 Shots
27.5 Shots
40 PP
33 PK
Tampa Bay Off vs  Toronto Def
3.25 GF
3 GA
29.6 Shots
32.8 Shots
41 PP
38 PK