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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, January 2, 2018
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario  Attendance: 19,344

Leafs open homestand vs. Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs

  1. The Lightning moved to 11-2-0 since the start of December with a 5-0 win in Columbus on Sunday. For the season, Tampa Bay is 12-5-1 (.694) on the road, the best record in the NHL.
  2. Tampa Bay has scored three or more goals in 13 consecutive games, two games short of matching the franchise record of 15 set in the 2003-04 season. With another three-goal performance tonight, the Lightning will have the longest such streak by any team since the Capitals had a 23-game streak in the 2009-10 season.
  3. The Maple Leafs wrapped up their five-game road trip with a 2-2-1 record, most recently falling in Vegas on Sunday, 6-3. Toronto has allowed 14 goals in its last three games after allowing 16 in its previous seven.
  4. These teams are meeting for the first time this season after splitting four games last season, with each winning both of its home games. The Lightning outscored the Maple Leafs by just one goal in the four games, 13-12.
  5. Tyler Johnson has recorded a point in each of the last 12 games he has played, the longest active streak in the NHL. Nikita Kucherov has done so in 10 straight games, the third-longest active streak in the league (Josh Bailey -- 11).
  6. It took Auston Matthews 112 games to reach 100 career points, the fourth fewest needed by any player in the last 10 seasons (since 2008-09). The only players to reach the milestone in fewer games since 2008-09 were Connor McDavid (92), Patrick Kane (104) and Artemi Panarin (107).

TORONTO -- The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs are changing places.

The Maple Leafs, who played 14 of their past 18 games on the road, open a six-game homestand Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who started a run of 13 of 16 games on the road when they trounced the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-0 on Sunday.

Toronto lost 6-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday to go 6-6-2 in their 14 road games starting Nov. 22. The Maple Leafs went 3-1-0 in their home games during that span.

"We're looking forward to getting back (home)," Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly said after the loss Sunday. "When you're on the road and traveling as much as we have been, it can take a toll on you. We're looking forward to getting back home and playing in front of our home crowd."

The Lightning (28-8-2) have won four of their past five games, so they will provide another test for the Maple Leafs (23-15-2). The first-year expansion Golden Knights are 26-9-2 after their win over the Leafs.

"Obviously, these are two of the top teams in the league, and it's a good way of measuring ourselves," Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen said.

Toronto center Auston Matthews said, "Yeah, definitely looking ahead here, (the Lightning) have been one of the best teams in the league along with (Vegas). So, tough matchup, obviously, a day and half (in Las Vegas) before playing them. (The Lightning) have got a lot of fire power and have been hot all season, so it will be a good test again."

The Lightning top the NHL with 58 points and lead the Atlantic Division by 10 points over Toronto and the Boston Bruins.

"We have a very talented group, there's no doubt about it," said Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman, who returned Sunday after missing two games with a lower-body injury. "We've got a lot of players that can make plays, and we have the best (goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy,) in the league. I think when we're on, we're a really good hockey team. It's hard to beat us."

Vasilevskiy earned his league-best fifth shutout of the season Sunday.

"I truly believe he's the best goalie in the world right now," said Lightning center Tyler Johnson, who scored twice against Columbus and had eight goals in December.

"We have a lot of confidence," said right winger Nikita Kucherov, who leads the Lightning with 56 points (25 goals, 31 assists). "A lot of mojo."

The Maple Leafs will be without defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, who remains on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and might not return until Jan. 16 after the team has a five-day break in the schedule. Toronto's defense could use some help.

"I'm not worried about that right now," Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "Defense is a five-man unit, and I'm not just blaming the D-men, I wouldn't do that, we were all guilty there (Sunday). (Zaitsev) isn't back for a while. When he gets back, he's a good player. The reality is whoever you play on a nightly basis has to be able to play. Sometimes when you play quick teams like (Sunday), some guys get exposed, and that was evident."

Toronto center Nazem Kadri also could miss the game Tuesday. He has not played since taking an elbow to the head in the Maple Leafs' win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

"I don't know the answer, I would just be speculating no different than you can," Babcock said. "We can all speculate together. How's that?"

Babcock said the opener or the homestand will be a test.

"Tampa's a real good team," Babcock said. "As good as (Vegas) is, I think Tampa is probably a touch above, and so we're going to have to be ready to go."

Updated January 2, 2018

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