NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Toronto
(Tuesday, November 3rd)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 2, Toronto 1 (OT)
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Ryan Malone scored the game-winning goal 2:21 into overtime to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.
Vinny Lecavalier also scored for the Lightning, who halted a two-game skid and earned their first road win of the season. Antero Niittymaki was stellar with 40 saves in the winning effort.
"Tonight was a grind -- I thought our penalty kill was outstanding," said Tampa Bay's Steve Stamkos. "It was not a pretty win, but we'll take it."
Ian White tallied the lone goal for the Maple Leafs, who remained winless at home in six tries (0-4-2) in 2009-10.
This contest marked the debut of Toronto forward Phil Kessel, who was acquired from Boston prior to the season with the knowledge that he would miss several weeks due to shoulder surgery. Kessel was medically cleared to play earlier Tuesday after being absent for the first 12 games of the year.
"I shot the puck fairly well, but (Niittymaki) make some nice saves, especially on some one-timers," said Kessel.
Jonas Gustavsson allowed two goals on 32 shots in defeat for Toronto, which is off to its worst start after 13 games (1-7-5) since a 2-10-1 beginning in 1990-91.
The score was deadlocked at one apiece after 60 minutes and the extra session began. The hosts nearly skated off with the win early in overtime, but a fluttering shot from the slot hit the crossbar and a Tampa defenseman, then bounced off Niittymaki and trickled away.
Shortly after, the Lightning crossed the neutral zone on a partial 2-on-1 rush. From the left side of the slot, Alex Tanguay sent the disc toward the far post, where Malone was able to get his stick on the puck. and it found its way over the goal line. The play was reviewed, but it was determined that the net did not come off its moorings and the tally stood.
Following a scoreless first period, a moment of excitement in an otherwise mostly defensive second stanza occurred early in the frame. Rickard Wallin's slap shot from the left circle hit Niittymaki squarely in the helmet and the force of the blast knocked his lid to the ice.
With less than two minutes remaining before the second intermission, the visitors finally struck. Gustavsson attempted to clear the puck from behind his own net but the disc found the stick of Mattias Ohlund, who gained control in the neutral zone and hustled in down the left-wing side.
From the circle, Ohlund ripped a slap shot that Gustavsson saved with his pad, but a long rebound saw the puck carom into the opposite circle, where Lecavalier was in position for a one-timer into the open net at 18:34.
At the 5:04 mark of the third period, the Leafs knotted the contest with a power-play goal. Near the end of the two-minute stretch, Niklas Hagman passed across the slot into the left circle for White, who quickly fired a wrist shot. The puck deflected off the skate of Tampa blueliner Matt Walker, and the change of direction fooled Niittymaki.
The Lightning have won three straight in Toronto...Lecavalier's only other goal of the season came on October 24 against Buffalo...The 22-year-old Kessel, who netted 36 goals last season, was brought to the Leafs in exchange for Toronto's first-round draft picks in both 2010 and 2011 as well as a second-round pick in 2010...It was Malone's ninth goal...The Leafs were 1- for-8 on the power play, while the Bolts ended 0-for-4 with the extra skater...Toronto went 1-11-1 after 13 games in 1985-86 during a franchise- worst 13-game winless skid.
11/03 23:50:18 ET