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Maple Leafs-Lightning Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are enjoying one of their best road starts in franchise history.
That could be bad news for a Tampa Bay Lightning club that's dropped its last three on home ice.
Toronto goes for a two-game Florida sweep on Tuesday night when it tries to win its fifth in a row in this series.
With Ben Scrivens making 37 saves for his second consecutive shutout, the Maple Leafs (10-6-0) won 3-0 over Florida on Monday to improve to 7-2-0 on the road for the first time since 1940-41.
The only other time the team had a better start as the visitor was 1934-35, when it began 7-1-1.
"We're still very much a work in progress," said coach Randy Carlyle, whose team has won six of seven overall.
Toronto will face the Lightning for the first time since outscoring them 20-7 while sweeping the four-game season series in 2011-12. The Maple Leafs won the two matchups in Tampa by a combined 10-2 margin after getting shut out in each of their two visits the previous season.
After giving Toronto its first set of back-to-back shutouts since Feb. 1-4, 2012, Scrivens will likely be in net again in place of injured starter James Reimer (knee). In his only appearance against the Lightning, Scrivens turned aside 35 shots in a 3-2 overtime home win on April 5, 2012.
Tampa Bay (7-6-1) is home after ending an 0-5-1 skid with Saturday's 6-5 overtime victory over the Panthers. Down by two in the third period, the Lightning forced the extra period on goals by Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell before Benoit Pouliot finished the comeback with his first two-goal game since an 8-0 Boston win over Toronto on March 19.
"We never quit. That's never a question and never will be a question and we showed it again tonight," said Stamkos, whose two goals and an assist tied him with Martin St. Louis with a team-best 21 points. "We finally got a bounce our way on the overtime goal. Hopefully, this sparks some momentum and will help us moving forward."
Coach Guy Boucher would also like to build off the team's first win since Feb. 1 against Winnipeg, but he doesn't want to make too much out of one victory.
"Now it's a whole different ballgame tomorrow, a different team," Boucher said after Monday's practice. "We focus on ourselves, but it's a whole new day. It's going to be a whole new story."
A different ending is what the Lightning need at home, where they're 0-2-1 since opening 5-0-0 there for the first time since 2007-08. Tampa Bay's last four-game home skid was March 14-20, 2010.
Anders Lindback will make a second straight start in net - and get his first look at the Maple Leafs - after missing Thursday's 4-3 home loss to Washington due to an illness. Lindback has one of the NHL's highest goal-support averages at 4.36.
Tampa Bay is averaging .57 fewer shots than Toronto (28.0), but it leads the league in shot percentage (14.3) and goals per game (3.93).
Maple Leafs leading goal-scorer James van Riemsdyk has six of his eight scores on the road, while teammate Phil Kessel has netted all three of his goals and 10 of his 12 points outside Toronto after finding the back of the net on Monday.
Updated February 19, 2013