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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Tuesday, February 10th (All times eastern)

Toronto Maple Leafs (30-14-8-3) at Tampa Bay Lightning (28-17-6-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs hope to be back in the driver's seat of the Eastern Conference after battling the Tampa Bay Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum tonight.

Toronto, with 71 points, is one behind Philadelphia in the conference race. The Flyers will host the New Jersey Devils this evening.

The Maple Leafs won three of their final four games before the All-Star break, including Thursday's 5-4 overtime triumph in Ottawa. Owen Nolan's goal with 31 seconds remaining in overtime capped a set of five unanswered goals for the Leafs, who are two ahead of Boston in the Northeast Division standings.

Darcy Tucker, Mikael Renberg, Mats Sundin and Matt Stajan all scored for Toronto, which improved to 6-2 in its last eight overall. Bryan McCabe had four assists while Tomas Kaberle posted a pair of helpers in the victory.

Toronto starting goaltender Ed Belfour continued to rest his sore back, giving way to Trevor Kidd. Kidd allowed four goals on 30 shots for the Maple Leafs. As far as tonight goes, Belfour stayed back in Toronto and is not expected to be in the lineup.

The Leafs, who have won four straight on the road, will host Columbus on Thursday.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has won seven of its last eight contests overall, and leads the Southeast Division by 15 points over Atlanta and Florida. On Thursday, Tim Taylor recorded a goal and an assist, as the Lightning beat the Predators, 5-2, at Gaylord Entertainment Center.

Brad Richards, Dan Boyle, Pavel Kubina and Ben Clymer also scored for the Lightning, who have lost just once in regulation in the last 10 games (7-1-0-2). Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 24 shots between the pipes.

Tampa would be the third seed in the Eastern Conference if the playoffs started today, but is within six of Toronto and seven of No. 1 Philadelphia.

The Lightning, 4-0-0-1 in their last five home contests, begin a four-game homestand tonight and will host Montreal on Thursday.

Toronto defeated Tampa, 3-0, at the Air Canada Centre on December 16, and has won nine straight meetings.

02/10 10:36:06 ET

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