After opening a month-long home stretch with an easy victory, Tampa Bay looks to ride its recent success into the All-Star break. Facing the Toronto Maple Leafs gives the Lightning a good chance to make that happen.
The Lightning hope to match a season high with their fifth consecutive victory Tuesday night while trying to remain undefeated against the Maple Leafs this season.
Tampa Bay (30-15-5) opened a 12-game home stretch with a 7-1 rout of Atlanta on Sunday. The result was a rare easy effort for the Southeast Division-leading Lightning, who were coming off three consecutive shootout victories. Tampa Bay leads the league with 17 one-goal wins.
"I think it's a little overdue for us," said center Nate Thompson, who scored his seventh of the season. "I think we were doing all the right things."
That's definitely been the case at home where Tampa Bay is 15-4-2. The Lightning hope to take advantage of a home stretch that matches the longest in NHL history since the California Golden Seals played 12 straight at home during the 1975-76 season.
With a visit from the struggling Maple Leafs (19-24-5) up next, the Lightning have a good chance to continue their home success.
Tampa Bay is 5-1-1 against Toronto at home since the start of the 2007-08 season. Though five of those contests have been decided by one goal, the Lightning won 4-0 at home behind 28 saves from Dan Ellis on Nov. 9.
Lightning All-Star and NHL goal leader Steven Stamkos scored twice in that contest and recorded an assist in a 4-3 shootout win at Toronto on Nov. 30. He has four goals and six assists his last five games against the Maple Leafs.
Stamkos, who tallied his 38th goal against Atlanta, has seven and three assists his last six overall.
Simon Gagne scored twice while fellow All-Star Martin St. Louis and Pavel Kubina each had a goal with an assist as 11 Lightning players recorded at least one point Sunday.
Dwayne Roloson, who has a 1.76 goals-against average while winning four of five versus Toronto, made 21 saves for his third straight win.
"I really believe we have a team thing going here," coach Guy Boucher told the Lightning's official website. "Hopefully we can have that going again on Tuesday."
That's a definite possibility after Toronto dropped its third straight road contest, 6-4 at Carolina on Monday. The Maple Leafs have lost five of six overall.
Fourth-line center Tim Brent scored twice and added an assist while Mike Brown had one of each for the Maple Leafs, who were outscored 4-3 in a wild third period.
"It's disappointing to lose those points that are right there for us," defenseman Dion Phaneuf said.
While Brent has scored three of his six goals in the last two games, the Maple Leafs need Phil Kessel to get back on track. The All-Star forward has three assists in six games overall, and two with a goal his last six versus Tampa Bay.
Though Brown scored on a power play Monday, Toronto is 3 for 27 with the man advantage its last eight contests.
That percentage could get worse if forward Nikolai Kulemin is unable to play after apparently suffering a broken nose Monday. He has 16 goals and 17 assists this season, including two goals against the Lightning.