Lightning Defeat Toronto, 3-2
Lecavalier Scores Twice, Stamkos Gets First Career Point
The Tampa Bay Lightning began a two game road swing with a hard-fought 3-2 win tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Lightning came out strong at the opening face-off and maintained the intensity as they skated aggressively throughout the game. With only 55 seconds gone in the opening period, Captain Vincent Lecavalier
set the tone for the evening when he broke in on the Toronto net and backhanded a shot which Maple Leaf goalie Vesa Toskala was able to handle.
Tampa Bay got on the board with 5:08 gone in the period when Jussi Jokinen converted from just below the face off circle on Toskala’s right. The goal was the result of a series of pinpoint passes and Mark Recchi and Mike Lundin
were credited with assists. The goal was Jokinen’s first of the season.
Toronto came back to tie the score 2 minutes and 26 seconds later. With Lukas Krajicek off the ice for interference, Matt Stajan tipped a pass which just managed to dribble passed Tampa Bay netminder Mike Smith
. Smith, making his fourth consecutive start, turned in another terrific effort, turning away shot after shot and ending with 37 saves on 39 attempts.
Both teams squandered substantial 4 on 3 opportunities in the opening period, as a combined six penalties were whistled.
With 4 minutes and 23 seconds remaining in the first, Vincent Lecavalier
took a pass from Vaclav Prospal and broke in alone on Toskala. The backhand goal he slid into the net was one for the highlight reels and put the Lightning on top to stay. In addition to Prospal, goalie Smith was also awarded an assist on the goal.
Lecavalier and Prospal were just warming up, however, as they again combined for a power play goal at 4:08 of the second period. Lecavalier took Prospal’s pass in the slot, deked and lifted the puck high over Toskala. For Lecavalier, the goal was his team-leading fifth of the season. Toronto native Steven Stamkos
also earned an assist on the goal, his first NHL point.
The Maple Leafs would close the gap to a one-goal game when defenseman Mike Van Ryn flipped a wrist shot over Smith at 13:15 of the second period while Lightning defenseman Marek Malik was in the penalty box for holding.
The final period was scoreless, but not for Toronto’s lack of trying as they pumped 13 shots on goal in a desperate attempt to get the tying score. Mike Smith
stepped up and made save after save, however, including a great stop on Alexei Ponikarovsky with five minutes remaining and another on John Mitchell to seal the victory with two minutes to play.
and Martin St. Louis
each had four shots on goal to lead the Lightning, while Matt Pettinger, making his debut for Tampa Bay, contributed one shot on net and two hits.
The Lightning, now 2-3-3, will take the well deserved road win and move on to face the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, October 30th, before returning home to Tampa to battle Ottawa on Saturday night.
|Three star selections