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 LIGHTNING LOOK FOR RARE WIN AGAINST LEAFS IN TORONTO

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PostSubject: LIGHTNING LOOK FOR RARE WIN AGAINST LEAFS IN TORONTO   Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:15 pm

LIGHTNING LOOK FOR RARE WIN AGAINST LEAFS IN TORONTO

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=270888&lid=sublink06&lpos=headlines_main

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping a matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs will enable them to break out of their current slide. The team aims for its fourth straight win over the Leafs when it visits the Air Canada Centre this evening.

Stops in Toronto have normally not been memorable ones for the Lightning in recent years, as Tampa lost six straight times as the visitor in this series before posting a 3-2 decision at the Air Canada Centre on October 28. The club also dealt the Maple Leafs a 6-4 defeat in Florida last month and won the final 2007-08 meeting between the teams as well.

Things haven't been going so well lately for the Lightning, who suffered their fourth consecutive setback with last night's overtime loss at Ottawa. Mike Fisher scored 2:38 into the extra period to lift the Senators to a 3-2 victory.

Cory Murphy and Adam Hall each had power-play goals for Tampa Bay, which has now dropped 10 of its last 12 games (2-7-3) and was coming off a forgettable 9-3 home loss to Carolina on Saturday. Karri Ramo turned aside 24-of-27 shots in Wednesday's defeat.

The Lightning will be playing the second test of a three-game road trip tonight and are just 10-18-5 as the visitor this season. The team has lost eight of its last nine away from home.

Toronto has been on a bit of an upswing as of late, having won six of its last nine contests and earning a point in eight of the past 11 outings. The Maple Leafs had been mired in a brief two-game slide before getting past the cellar- dwelling New York Islanders Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs delivered a 3-2 win over New York on Mikhail Grabovski's goal 50 seconds into overtime. Toronto trailed 2-1 entering the third period, but drew even when Alexei Ponikarovsky scored unassisted with 11:14 remaining in regulation.

Martin Gerber made 28 saves against the Islanders and is now 2-1-0 with a 2.00 goals against average in three starts for Toronto since being claimed off waivers from Ottawa last week. In the veteran netminder's lone encounter with the Lightning this season, he recorded a 24-save shutout in a 2-0 Senators' victory on December 13.

The Maple Leafs improved to 12-12-9 at home for the season with Tuesday's triumph, the opener of a three-game homestand. Toronto will also host Northwest Division leader Calgary on the residency before meeting the Lightning in Tampa this coming Tuesday.
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PostSubject: Re: LIGHTNING LOOK FOR RARE WIN AGAINST LEAFS IN TORONTO   Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:18 pm

Leafs are a few point from drafting 10th and a few points from drafting top 5!! So all in all... need a loss 2night... but Tampa is brutal so might as well add another 2 points to the Leafs
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PostSubject: Re: LIGHTNING LOOK FOR RARE WIN AGAINST LEAFS IN TORONTO   Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:57 am

TAMPA BAY RALLIES TO VICTORY OVER MAPLE LEAFS; WILSON EJECTED

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=270968&lid=sublink04&lpos=headlines_main

TORONTO - The Tampa Bay Lightning might not be 29th in the 30-team NHL if they got to play the Maple Leafs more often.

A 4-1 victory Thursday night improved their record against Toronto this season to 3-0.

They were tired after a 3-2 overtime loss in Ottawa on Wednesday and somehow found the energy to rally after falling behind on an early goal by Lee Stempniak. Goals by Matt Pettinger, Martin St. Louis, Ryan Malone and Paul Szczechura buried the Leafs.

"My legs felt better in the third than they did in the first," said Malone. "You get your second wind and kind of just roll with it."

Getting the lead was a big help, said St. Louis.

"It's a lot easier to play with a lead," he said.

Toronto had earned 15 of a possible 22 points in its previous 11 games but couldn't cope with the Lightning.

"We responded well from our loss in Ottawa," said Malone.

The Lightning are well aware there is not a chance they can make the playoffs but they are trying to finish the season on an upbeat note.

"We want to build a foundation for next year," said St. Louis.

There were exhibition games played in Air Canada Centre in years past that had more intensity than the first half of this one.

Stempniak scored the only goal of a first period that included only 12 shots on goal. Two penalties were assessed, both to the Lightning, and the Leafs were unable to get a shot on Ramo during the four minutes they had the manpower advantage.

"We were standing around," Malone said of his team's slow start. "We weren't strong on the puck individually and they did a good job of getting on us."

The second period started with Martin Gerber kicking out his right leg to stop a breakaway shot by St. Louis. On another breakaway a minute later, Pettinger scored on a shot to the same spot. This time, Gerber fell into his net and the puck followed him across the goal line.

The third, fourth and fifth penalties of the game were assessed to the Leafs and the Lightning couldn't score with an extra skater for six minutes, but they'd gained momentum and had the upper hand for the rest of the period.

St. Louis made it 2-1 at 17:10 when he fired a cross-ice pass from Steven Stamkos into the open side of the Leafs net for his 25th goal. Tampa Bay's 16-5 shots advantage in the second was a tipoff to which way the game was going.

"We turned the tide in the second," said Malone.

Stamkos and St. Louis have been linemates for the last week and one wonders, given how good they look skating together, why the coaches didn't try it earlier in the season.

"Marty is so good at winning the little battles and that's contagious," said Stamkos. "You don't want to disappoint him by not winning those battles.

"He's such a great player that you want to get him the puck. It's a treat for me to play with him. To play with a Hart Trophy winner is pretty special for me. I can see my game elevating just by his presence on the ice with me."

Stamkos is a right-handed centre and St. Louis, a right-winger, said he's never played with a righty previously in the NHL.

"It's different," said St. Louis. "Whenever he's got the puck in the middle, he's on his backhand to come to me.

"At the same time, when he's on my side of the ice, he's ready to feed me for a one-timer. I try to buy time for him and (pass to) him at the right time. He's being very responsive to what we've talked about."

The Leafs got their third power-play chance when Jeff Halpern high-sticked John Mitchell at 7:11 of the third. They managed to get a shot on Ramo this time but they couldn't tie it.

When Anton Stralman took his second penalty of the night at 13:06, Malone fired in his 24th, from Gerber's doorstep at 14:35, to put this one in the W column for Tampa Bay.

Szczechura capped the scoring at 17:54 with his third NHL goal. The undrafted rookie from Brantford, Ont., has appeared in 22 games. He hadn't scored since Dec. 23.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson was ejected in the last minute for arguing with the referees.

"Yeah, I've been kicked out before," said Wilson. "It's not a big deal."

The game's turning point was when Alexei Ponikarovsky missed an open net when he could have put the Leafs up 2-0 in the first period, said Wilson. Penalty troubles followed for the Leafs.

"What happened is, we killed too many penalties in the second period and lost our momentum," said Wilson. "They gained it and we could never find a way to get it back."

Tampa Bay outshot Toronto 30-21.

"The shots they had, Karri did a good job of smothering them," said Malone. "They didn't get too many second chances."

Too few second chances hurt the Leafs, Stempniak agreed.

"They took it to us in the second period and part of that was our fault," he said. "We didn't take the extra stride to get pucks in or really pay the price to win the game.

"The game was right there at the beginning of the second period but it just turned in their favour."

Notes(at): Announced attendance was 19,209 and dozens of family members and friends from nearby Markham cheered on Stamkos in his second NHL game in Toronto . . . Hadn't seen this during an NHL game in Air Canada Centre before: a spectator threw a puck onto the ice in the third period and a linesman retrieved it as play continued . . . The Leafs have 13 games remaining. They play at home against Calgary on Saturday (CBC, 7 p.m. EDT) then hit the road for games against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, Florida on Thursday and Montreal on Sunday . . . Stamkos has 14 goals and 33 points in 65 games. Compare: Vincent Lecavalier managed 13 goals and 28 points in 82 games in his 1998-99 rookie season . . . Going into the game, man games lost due to injuries totalled 258 for Tampa Bay and 159 for Toronto.
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PostSubject: Re: LIGHTNING LOOK FOR RARE WIN AGAINST LEAFS IN TORONTO   Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:01 am

Big loss for the Leafs 2night... well good for the Tank hahah... Highlight of the game was Wilson getting tossed... Don;t blame him though... when the opposing team slashes your stick and breaks his stick and u get the penalty... thats just not right!!
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