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Thursday, March 12th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (21-32-14) at Toronto Maple Leafs (27-28-13), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping a matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs will enable them to break out of their current slide. The team aims for its fourth straight win over the Leafs when it visits the Air Canada Centre this evening.

Stops in Toronto have normally not been memorable ones for the Lightning in recent years, as Tampa lost six straight times as the visitor in this series before posting a 3-2 decision at the Air Canada Centre on October 28. The club also dealt the Maple Leafs a 6-4 defeat in Florida last month and won the final 2007-08 meeting between the teams as well.

Things haven't been going so well lately for the Lightning, who suffered their fourth consecutive setback with last night's overtime loss at Ottawa. Mike Fisher scored 2:38 into the extra period to lift the Senators to a 3-2 victory.

Cory Murphy and Adam Hall each had power-play goals for Tampa Bay, which has now dropped 10 of its last 12 games (2-7-3) and was coming off a forgettable 9-3 home loss to Carolina on Saturday. Karri Ramo turned aside 24-of-27 shots in Wednesday's defeat.

The Lightning will be playing the second test of a three-game road trip tonight and are just 10-18-5 as the visitor this season. The team has lost eight of its last nine away from home.

Toronto has been on a bit of an upswing as of late, having won six of its last nine contests and earning a point in eight of the past 11 outings. The Maple Leafs had been mired in a brief two-game slide before getting past the cellar- dwelling New York Islanders Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs delivered a 3-2 win over New York on Mikhail Grabovski's goal 50 seconds into overtime. Toronto trailed 2-1 entering the third period, but drew even when Alexei Ponikarovsky scored unassisted with 11:14 remaining in regulation.

Martin Gerber made 28 saves against the Islanders and is now 2-1-0 with a 2.00 goals against average in three starts for Toronto since being claimed off waivers from Ottawa last week. In the veteran netminder's lone encounter with the Lightning this season, he recorded a 24-save shutout in a 2-0 Senators' victory on December 13.

The Maple Leafs improved to 12-12-9 at home for the season with Tuesday's triumph, the opener of a three-game homestand. Toronto will also host Northwest Division leader Calgary on the residency before meeting the Lightning in Tampa this coming Tuesday.

03/12 10:48:21 ET


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