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Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs Preview and Game Day Thread

The Lightning’s season-best winning streak faces its biggest test.

Toronto Maple Leafs fans Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs: GAME# 31

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Scotiabank Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUNX, TSn4, ESPN+

Opponent SBNation Site: Pension Plan Puppets

DraftKings Line: Lightning +1.5 O/U 6

Preview:

Excellent news, Lightning fans - it looks like Mikhail Sergachev is back! Sergy was back taking regular rushes at practice on Monday and it appears, that after missing the last few games, he’ll be back in the line-up. Based on that practice Zach Bogosian may be back as well.

The Bolts will need all of their top players as they face a Maple Leafs team that is extremely interested in extracting a small measure of revenge for the game in Tampa earlier this month, a 4-3 overtime Lightning overtime win. Since then the Lightning have gone 4-1 while the Leafs won their next four games before dropping their last two.

Unlike the Lightning, who appear to have their full roster for one of the few times this season, the Leafs are still dealing with a litany of injuries. There is a good chance that Calle Jarnkrok will be back in the line-up for the first time since November 30th, giving them a little more depth up front.

While the Lightning did pick up their fifth win in a row on Saturday against Montreal, there first couple of periods weren’t as clean as Coach Cooper expects out of his team. Andrei Vasilevskiy had to bail them out of several high-danger chances early in the game before the offense found their legs. Toronto is much more adept at burying those opportunities so limiting them will be in the Bolts best interests.

Vasy has been solid throughout his career in Toronto, posting an 8-4-1 record with a .929 SV% and 2.17 GAA. Nikita Kucherov loves playing up north as well with 20 points (7 goals, 13 assists) in 14 games, and is riding a five-game point streak in Scotiabank Arena. Steven Stamkos has his own four-game streak against his boyhood team, putting up 10 points (2 goals, 8 points).

With a win, the Bolts will climb within a point of the Maple Leafs in the standing and have two games in hand.

For the short term investors out there, this marks only the fourth time this season the Lightning have been the underdog according to the oddsmakers. Each of the previous three times they were not favored to win were road games (against the Rangers, Penguins and Bruins) and they lost all three without covering. Overall this season they are 14-16 against the spread.

Comparison chart:

Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs Comparison

Game #31 Tampa Bay Lightning Toronto Maple Leafs
Game #31 Tampa Bay Lightning Toronto Maple Leafs
Overall Record 20-9-1 19-7-6
Home Record 12-4-1 11-2-3
Road Record 8-5-0 8-5-3
Goals For 110 103
Goals Against 86 78
xGF 103.78 106.92
xGA 92.11 92.99
PP% 27.4% 23.3%
PK% 81% 79.6%
Stats from NHL and Natural Stat Trick

Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Steven Stamkos - Nick Paul - Alex Killorn

Ross Colton - Anthony Cirelli - Pat Maroon

Vlad Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Nick Perbix

Mikhail Sergachev - Zach Bogosian

Ian Cole - Erik Cernak

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Toronto Maple Leafs Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - William Nylander

Calle Jarnkrok - John Tavares - Mitch Marner

Alex Kerfoot - David Kampf - Pierre Engvall

Zach Aston-Reese - Pontus Holmberg - Joey Anderson

Defense Pairings

Mark Giordano - Justin Holl

Rasmus Sandin - Timothy Liljegren

TJ Brodie - Connor Timmons

Goalies

Matt Murray

Ilya Samsonov