Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs

7:30PM - Amalie Arena

TV: Sportsnet - RADIO: Sportsnet 590

SBN: Raw Charge

Head to Head

Teams Tampa Bay Lightning Toronto Maple Leafs
Record 43-27-5 27-36-11
Conference 5th in East 16th in East
League 10th 30th
Goals +/- 211/182 = +29 181/217 = -36
Top Scorer Steven Stamkos (36) Leo Komarov (19)
Top Points Stamkos (62) Nazem Kadri (41)
Goalie Ben Bishop .927/2.05 Garret Sparks .900/2.73
Needs new alarm clock Jonathan Drouin El Seldo


Tonight's game against Tampa Bay will be interesting. Tampa Bay is battling the Florida Fancy Cats for first place in the division, and just lost a stinker of a game to them 5-2 on Saturday night.

They fought that battle with Andrei Vasilevskiy in net, and the talented but inconsistent kid has now lost his last three starts. Part of the issue wasn't Vasilevskiy, though. It was the fact that at this time in the season, Tampa is without a lot of key personnel, including Anton Stralman (lower-body, out indefinitely), Ryan Callahan, and Nikita Kucherov.

Perhaps because of these injuries, Ben Bishop is in net tonight for the first time this season against the Leafs. The soccer chanting section of Amalie Arena, #307, has a special chant just for Bish -- "He's big, he's tall, he's a freaking brick wall." I always blush a little when I hear it, but after every game, Ben turns and raises his stick to #307.

My fantasy team is very sad that Kucherov is out.

Tampa lines look, hmmm, like an impending storyline of doom from various Toronto media figures. For example, I'm sure someone will point out that Stamkos is playing on Filppula's wing tonight. This is because Callahan, his usual winger, is out, and Filppula is (a) great at faceoffs and (2) unable to play wing. Also, instead of calling up a certain troublesome guy with a faulty alarm clock to replace one of the missing forwards, this Syracuse Crunch fellow named Mike Blunden was called up instead. (He was called up mid-March, I believe.) He's no Drouin. Who will write the story first?

On the Leafs side, everyone is beautiful and precious, and it makes every game worth watching.

Stamkos gave props to the Leafs in NHL's game preview, saying: "The past couple of weeks they have had some new faces in the lineup that are bringing energy. They have beaten some pretty good teams. They are playing for jobs and we're playing for a playoff spot. You can argue that one thing is just as important as the other. We went into Toronto a few weeks ago and got beat."

Mark Masters ‏@markhmasters 3h3 hours ago Toronto, Ontario
Ben Bishop starts for Lightning ... will be his first look at Leafs this season ... 5-5-0, .891 sv% in career v Toronto

(Koekkoek is pronounced "Cuckoo" as in the clock.)

Cool things from the game notes

  • The Maple Leafs have won four of their last five games and own a 6-3-1 record in their last 10 contests.
  • The Maple Leafs’ faceoff win percentage of 51.1% is the sixth-highest mark in the NHL.
  • The Maple Leafs are averaging 31.0 shots on goal per game, the fifth-highest total in the NHL.
  • The Maple Leafs have participated in 12 shootouts this season, tied with Ottawa for the most in the NHL.
  • The Maple Leafs own a 4-3-2 record when playing on Monday this season./

Leafs Lines

Milan Michalek - Nazem Kadri - Michael Grabner
Zach Hyman - William Nylander - PA Parenteau
Brad Boyes - Tyler Bozak - Connor Brown
Colin Greening - Brooks Laich - Ben Smith

Martin Marincin - Morgan Rielly
Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick
Rinat Valiev - Frank Corrado

Garret Sparks
Jonathan Bernier

Tampa Bay Lightning Lines

Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Steven Stamkos
Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Jonathan Marchessault
Cedric Paquette - Vladislav Namestnikov - J.T. Brown
Erik Condra - Brian Boyle - Mike Blunden

Victor Hedman - Andrej Sustr
Jason Garrison - Nikita Nesterov

Matthew Carle - Braydon Coburn

Ben Bishop
Andrei Vasilevskiy