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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, October 28th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (1-3-3) at Toronto Maple Leafs (3-2-3), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will shoot for their third consecutive victory tonight, when they welcome the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning to Air Canada Centre.

The Maple Leafs began the year with a 1-2-3 record, but have since notched back-to-back wins over division rivals. Toronto won in Boston, 4-2, on Thursday and earned a 3-2 decision Saturday against the visiting Ottawa Senators.

Alexei Ponikarovsky scored the eventual winning goal in the third period, as the Maple Leafs edged Ottawa to post consecutive victories for the first time this season.

Dominic Moore and Mikhail Grabovski also tallied for the Maple Leafs, who opened the season with a big 3-2 win over defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit, but then went on to lose five straight (0-2-3) before Thursday's win over Boston.

Vesa Toskala made 22 stops, including 10 in the crucial third period for Toronto, which notched its first home win of the season.

The Leafs are 1-1-2 as the hosts this season and are wrapping up a brief two- game homestand tonight.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, is just 1-3-3 on the season, having started the year on a five-game losing streak under new head coach Barry Melrose.

After picking up their first win of the campaign last Tuesday against visiting Atlanta, the Lightning were downed Saturday at home by San Jose. Brian Boucher stopped 22 shots for his second shutout in as many starts this season, and the Sharks topped the Lightning, 3-0, at St. Pete Times Forum.

Mike Smith was busy in facing 45 shots and did well to keep the Lightning within three goals.

The Lightning have played just one game on the road this season and that was in one of the two contests the team played in the Czech Republic to begin the schedule. Tampa was handed a 2-1 loss by the New York Rangers in that game in Prague.

Beginning with tonight's test, Tampa Bay is playing seven of its next eight contests on the road.

Tampa Bay has taken two of three against the Leafs, but Toronto has won seven of the last nine encounters overall. The Lightning have also lost six in a row and 11 of 12 at the Air Canada Centre.

Overall, the home team has won five straight and 10 of 12 in the series.

10/28 11:00:23 ET

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