Game Preview #22 - Lightning vs Leafs

 

The Toronto Maple Leafs (11-8-2) will try to bounce back from Sunday's poor effort against the Tampa Bay Lightning (9-8-2). The Lightning were dominant against the Leafs last season posting a 3-0-1 record while outscoring the buds 15-5. Watching the Lightning destroy the Leafs it was obvious to me that they were the best team in the Eastern Conference last season. Considering they lost by one goal in game 7 of the Conference finals to the eventual cup champs shows how close they really were last year. This season though the Lightning have struggled. Their already weak blueline was dealt a blow when Mattias Ohlund for a significant amount of time. The Leafs may be facing the Lightning at the right time considering they've lost three of their last four games.

Toronto may have Clarke MacArthur back in the lineup tonight. Considering the number of regulars out of the lineup with injuries, MacArthur's return will be a welcome sign. Toronto has still not announced who will start in goal tonight. However, following his strong showing on Saturday against the Capitals, I'd be shocked if it wasn't Jonas Gustavsson. The Leafs need to exploit the weak Lighting defense, and if they can receive some secondary scoring tonight they should be able to get a result on the road. Considering the Lightning dominance over the Leafs last season a win against them tonight will go a long way to establishing confidence for the young buds.

Lineups

Leafs 

Forwards

Lupul - Bozak - Kessel
Kulemin - Connolly - MacArthur
Frattin - Colborne - Crabb
Rosehill - Dupuis - Brown

Defense

Gunnarsson - Phaneuf
Liles - Franson
Gardiner - Schenn

Goalies

Gustavsson
Scrivens 

Lightning

Forwards

Lecavalier - Stamkos - St.Louis
Malone - Moore - Downie
Shannon - Connolly - Purcell
Pyatt - Thomson - Hall

Defense

Brewer - Hedman
Bergeron - Kubina
Clark - Gilroy

Goalies

Roloson
Garon 

Players to Watch

Leafs: Nikolai Kulemin - He's going to need to start scoring soon. The Leafs will not go anywhere this season  if #41 can't get it going. Hopefully he can break out of his month long slump tonight. 

Lightning: Marc Andre Bergeron - The diminutive defenseman sits third in scoring by blueliners this season. With 17 points in 19 games the Leafs will need to shut him down on the PP if they are going to survive tonight.

Game Time: 7:30 at the St.Pete Times Forum. TV - Sportsnet Ontario. Radio - AM640.