Balanced effort leads Tampa Bay Lightning past Toronto
Tough, together, strong and solid. That sums up Tampa Bay's effort on Tuesday in defeating Toronto 4-2 in front of an announced sellout crowd of 19,204 at The Forum. From the start, up until nearly the end of the game, the Lightning stuck to the game plan and executed it to near perfection to pick up a second consecutive victory after enduring a six-game winless slide. The victory pulled Tampa Bay into a tie with Carolina atop the Southeast Division, although the Hurricanes have played one fewer game. Benoit Pouliot had three assists, while Tampa Bay received goals from Steven Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier, Matt Carle and rookie Alex Killorn. Goaltender Anders Lindback stopped 23 shots for the victory, his first time in four starts allowing fewer than three goals, with only Mikhail Grabovski and James van Riemsdyk getting pucks past him. And it was on the defensive end that Tampa Bay went into Tuesday's game looking to clamp down on, and through the first two periods the Maple Leafs had no quality scoring chances — by head coach Guy Boucher's count — and didn't come close during a solid second-period defensive showing. "We didn't give much to the opponent. That's what we wanted,'' Boucher said. "I'm looking at scoring chances against and we gave nothing in the second period — zero. That's what I'm looking at and the rest, shots from the outside, I couldn't care less.'' Toronto had come in winners of six of the past seven while goaltender Ben Scrivens entered with back-to-back shutouts, including a 37-save effort against Florida the night before. And whether the Maple Leafs' goaltender wore down playing on consecutive nights or was just off, the Lightning were able to take advantage of the scoring chances they generated. Getting the opening goal — that hadn't happened for the Lightning since Feb. 2 — started the game in the right direction when Lecavalier was left unchecked near the left circle to take a Pouliot pass and wrist a shot past Scrivens at 9:25. That ended the netminder's shutout streak at 154 minutes, 16 seconds. Though Toronto tied the game with 2:01 left in the first period, the Lightning defense clamped down in the second, got the go-ahead goal from Stamkos, and suffocated the Maple Leafs' attack, making Toronto work the whole ice.
Distributed by Internet Broadcasting and The Sports Xchange. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.