Lightning Sweep Past Maple Leafs, 4-1
Tampa Bay Explodes For Four Unanswered Goals
The Tampa Bay Lightning put together a strong game in Toronto to defeat the Maple Leafs, 4-1, tonight at the Air Canada Center.
The win was the third straight for Tampa Bay over Toronto this season, with one more meeting on tap, Tuesday in Tampa.
The Maple Leafs jumped out to an early lead just 3:21 into the contest when Lee Stempniak collected a rebound in front of Lightning goaltender Karri Ramo and slapped the puck into the Tampa Bay net.
That goal would stand until early in the second period when the Lightning picked up the pace and took over the game with the next four unanswered goals.
The Bolts got underway at 5:25 of period two when Matt Pettinger grabbed an outlet pass from Martins Karsums
and broke in alone on Maple Leaf netminder Martin Gerber. Gerber appeared to stop Pettinger’s attempt, but his momentum carried the puck over the goal line and Pettinger got his fourth goal of the season.
Martin St. Louis
finished out the second stanza with his 25th goal of the season at 17:19; a blast off a cross-ice pass from Steven Stamkos
. Ryan Malone
also assisted on the score.
Tampa Bay outshot Toronto in the second period by a margin of 16 to 5, and went to the locker room up 2-1.
“It’s a lot easier to play with a lead,” St. Louis said.
And the Lightning proved that in the third, shutting down any attack that Toronto attempted to generate while adding two insurance goals.
Tampa Bay’s power play produced the first goal of the third period, the only extra man score on four chances for the Lightning. Forward Ryan Malone
picked up his second point of the game and 24th goal of the season as he wristed the puck into the Toronto net from just outside the crease at 14:35. Cory Murphy and Vincent Lecavalier
earned assists on the score. Murphy now has points in two consecutive games.
The Lightning’s final goal came with just over two minutes remaining in the game as Paul Szczechura
pounced on a Maple Leaf cross-ice pass in the neutral zone and skated in alone on Gerber. His snapshot from the left faceoff circle beat the Toronto netminder on the glove side to give Tampa Bay the lead, 4-1.
For Szczechura, the goal was his third of the season.
Karri Ramo finished the night with 20 saves on 21 shots and Tampa Bay, lead by newcomer defenseman Richard Petiot with six, out hit the Maple Leafs by a margin of 35 to 17.
The win was the first for the Lightning in four games and came on the heels of a very strong effort resulting in an overtime loss in Ottawa the previous night.
The Lightning will wrap up their three-game road trip on Saturday night when they visit the Florida Panthers in Sunrise. After that game, it’s back to the St. Pete Times Forum for four home games against Toronto, Washington, Atlanta and Columbus.
|Three star selections
||MARTIN ST. LOUIS