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TONIGHT: MAPLE LEAFS VS. LIGHTNING

WHEN/WHERE: 7:35; Ice Palace, Tampa.

RADIO: WSUN-AM 620.

RECORDS: Maple Leafs 25-38-6, Lightning 27-34-7.

THE SERIES: Torontoads 9-6-0, but Tampa Bay won the only other meeting this season, 7-4 _ three of its goals that night coming from Chris Gratton.

LATELY: Out of the Western Conference playoff picture, Toronto is 4-3-4 in its past 11 games and 2-1-4 in its past seven, including a 3-3 tie Saturday at Florida. Tampa Bay has lost four of five after falling 5-2 to Vancouver on Saturday in the fifth of a six-game homestand.

GOALIESPEAK: The October game in Toronto marked the first NHL victory for Lightning rookie Corey Schwab. For conditioning purposes, injured No.

1 Daren Puppa plays today for Adirondack of the AHL against Carolina. It will be Puppa's first minor-league game in nearly nine years.

WE HARDLY KNEW YOU: Maple Leafs defenseman Craig Wolanin had four assists in 16 games (before Saturday) since being dealt from Tampa Bay to Toronto for a draft pick. Wolanin did not register a point in 15 games with the Lightning, which acquired him from Colorado in the off-season.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Lightning leaves Tuesday, the same day as the NHL trade deadline, on a three-game trip to western Canada.

THE AILING: Maple Leafs _ D Mathieu Schneider (groin surgery), C Jamie Baker (head laceration) and LW Kirk Muller (bruised foot) are out. Lightning _ D Drew Bannister hurt his shoulder Saturday and is scheduled for an MRI exam today, but D Jay Wells (torn ligament, knee) comes off injured reserve today and could play tonight. RW Alex Selivanov (arthroscopic knee surgery) is day-to-day. Puppa (herniated disc surgery), C Brian Bradley (torn ligament, wrist) and LW/RW Patrick Poulin (sprained right knee) are out.

_ TIM BUCKLEY

Up next:SLAP SHOTS

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