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Leafs come alive late to down Lightning
Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Maple Leafs scored three times in the third period to back a 31-save performance from Jonathan Bernier and come through with a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Jay McClement, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak all lit the lamp during the final frame, with Phil Kessel assisting on two of the tallies to help the Leafs to a fourth win in five games.
"Outside of the first 10 minutes I thought we played a pretty solid game," Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle remarked. "We gave up some chances but we created some chances with our forecheck."
The first two of those goals came against Cedrick Desjardins, pressed into duty for the Lightning after Ben Bishop was forced to exit after two periods with an upper-body injury. Bishop stopped 21-of-22 shots prior to departing, with Desjardins coming up with 11 saves.
Ondrej Palat had Tampa Bay's lone score in the loss, the Lightning's second straight and fourth in five outings.
"We have to play our game," Palat said. "We didn't play bad today. It's frustrating."
Bishop had kept the Maple Leafs off the board past the midway mark of the second period but Toronto broke through against the Tampa netminder with just over eight minutes to go in the session.
Morgan Rielly started a rush up the ice that ended in Mason Raymond blowing past Lightning wing Alex Killorn and roofing a backhander over Bishop's shoulder to snap a scoreless deadlock.
McClement made it 2-0 with 2:19 elapsed in the third, stuffing a shot between the pads of the newly entered Desjardins after David Clarkson drew two defenders and hit his linemate in stride.
Van Riemsdyk knocked a rebound of Carl Gunnarsson's initial attempt out of the air and in to extend Toronto's advantage with 11:50 left to play, though Tampa Bay answered just over two minutes later when Palat split the defense and beat Bernier with a nasty forehand.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper pulled Desjardins with still over three minutes remaining, giving Bozak the opportunity to further the margin with an empty-net tally that came off a Tampa Bay giveaway.
The victory was the Maple Leafs' second over the Lightning in just over a week, having notched a 3-2 decision in Toronto on Jan. 28 ... Hockey Canada announced Thursday that Lightning captain Martin St. Louis will replace injured teammate Steven Stamkos on the nation's roster for the upcoming Olympic Games ... Kessel has registered two goals and eight assists during a nine-game point streak against Tampa Bay ... Leafs defenseman Cody Franson skated in his 300th NHL game.
02/07 00:06:56 ET
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