(SportsNetwork.com) – The sliding Toronto Maple Leafs will try to rebound from
an embarrassing loss when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Thursday’s
clash at Air Canada Centre.
The Maple Leafs have lost three straight in regulation and are coming off an
abysmal showing in Tuesday’s 9-2 home loss against the Nashville Predators.
Toronto has been outscored by a 15-4 margin over its last two losses, which
includes Saturday’s 6-2 setback in Buffalo.
Toronto let up a goal less than two minutes into Tuesday’s game and the Leafs
trailed 8-0 before finally getting one past Nashville’s Pekka Rinne in the
third period. It was the first time the Maple Leafs surrendered nine goals
since a 12-1 setback to Pittsburgh on Dec. 26, 1991.
Jonathan Bernier gave up three goals on 12 shots in the first period and James
Reimer allowed six on 25 shots the rest of the way.
“I don’t think it was the coach. It was the players,” Maple Leafs defenseman
Roman Polak said. “We played awful out there.”
Toronto is already on its longest skid of the season. It hasn’t dropped four
straight since losing the last four games of the 2013-14 season in regulation.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, enters Thursday’s test having lost three of its last
The Lightning had a two-game winning streak halted with Tuesday’s 5-2 road
setback against the New York Islanders. Tampa kicked off a three-game road
trip with Monday’s 5-1 rout of the New York Rangers, but the Bolts couldn’t
duplicate that result the following night on Long Island.
Tampa scored first on Tuesday, but the Isles tallied the game’s next four
goals to take control of the contest.
Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat had goals for the Lightning, while Evgeni
Nabokov took the loss against his former team by allowing all five goals on 36
“We fought back and had some good chances coming back in the game,” Lightning
defenseman Anton Stralman said. “It didn’t work for us tonight.”
Tampa is 6-3-1 as the visiting team this season. The Bolts open a three-game
homestand Saturday against Minnesota after capping the road trip tonight.
The Lightning have won the last two meetings with Toronto, but the Leafs have
claimed victory in seven of the past 11 encounters. Tampa halted a four-game
slide at Air Canada Centre when it notched a 5-3 road win on March 19 of last