In what is the fourth and final meeting between the two teams, Tampa will visit the ACC in an effort to get Steven Stamkos 60 goals. In similar fashion, I do hope that in our remaining two games Phil Kessel manages to score 40, which still probably wouldn’t silence his critics.
Like Don Cherry mentioned and Brian Burke insinuated, players from Ontario do have that added incentive to play well in front of their family and friends so it wouldnâ€™t surprise me in the slightest if we saw that mark cracked tonight. The Markham native has one goal in three games against the Leafs this season, however.
QUOTES TO NOTE:
Both teams are coming off disappointing losses. Tampa lost to a Priceless Montreal, conceding 5 goals in the process. The Leafs collapsed in the third period against Buffalo, be it after some highly questionable calls by the men in stripes. Here is what both coaches had to say:
“This was probably our second-worst game of the year – if not, the first one,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. “We had been fighting extremely hard with a lot of victories. A few guys came back (from injury) lately and we fought really hard, but tonight we didn’t compete. We didn’t come out like we normally do.”
“Gut-wrenching,” Carlyle said. “Everything went our way early, and then everything went against us late in the hockey game.”
WHO TO WATCH:
Obviously, the spotlight will be on the two scorers mentioned above, but Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has six points in his five game point streak. Stamkos has scored 8 goals in his last 7 games, while Kessel has 4 points in his last 2 games.
Lightning winger Adam Hall is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Mattias Ohlund (knees), Dana Tyrell (knee), Marc-Andre Bergeron (back), Mathieu Garon (groin) and Ryan Shannon (shoulder) wonâ€™t feature in tonightâ€™s game.
Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson is done for the season due to a separated shoulder, he hopes to play in the WC. James Reimer (upper body), Joffrey Lupul (shoulder) and David Steckel (MCL), Nikolai Kulemin (broken finger) are also out for this one. Mikhail Grabovski (leg) is day-to-day.