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Tampa Bay at Toronto

Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 3 (OT)

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

TORONTO -- The youth movement has injected some life into the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The pieces fit together brilliantly Thursday night in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, with rookies Viktor Stalberg, Tyler Bozak and Luca Caputi doing the heavy lifting in regulation and Phil Kessel, himself just 22, sealing the deal at 3:33 of the extra session.

It was the third win in four outings for the Maple Leafs (22-33-12), who have looked like a different club since general manager Brian Burke's housecleaning prior to the trade deadline.

"It's putting together a string of games, which we've done now since the trade deadline shed everything and brought a lot of young people in," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "We've competed hard in every game ... we just want a fresher attitude and different sense of culture, a different sense of it's special to be a Toronto Maple Leaf, and these young guys are taking advantage of it right now."

There was plenty of determined play most of the game, but especially in a spirited overtime session, when the teams traded back-and-forth chances.

Matters were settled when Bozak intercepted a pass in the Toronto end, broke in on 2-on-1 with Kessel, deked around exhausted Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier, and slipped the slick winger a pass that he deftly tucked around a sprawling Mike Smith.

"You're always pretty nervous having your first year and we haven't played the full season," Bozak said. "But playing with the guys we are, every shift you get a lot better and you get more experience and more comfortable with the puck."

Bozak scored in regulation, fellow rookie Stahlberg had two goals, and Luca Caputi, another rookie, added two assists.

Steven Stamkos, extending his points streak to 18 games with his 42nd goal of the season, Kurtis Foster and Steve Downie replied for the Lightning (27-27-12), who lost for the seventh time in eight games.

"We play hard, but hard's not good enough right now," Lightning forward Martin St. Louis said. "For us it's about results right now and we just can't seem to find that."

Tampa Bay -- fighting for the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference with Montreal, Boston, the Rangers and Atlanta -- struggled to contain the Leafs' kids all night and eventually paid for it.

Bozak put the Leafs ahead 3-2 just 3:37 into the third when he picked up a loose puck to Smith's right and fired it over the prone goalie.

But Downie fired home a rebound past Jean-Sebastien Giguere just 1:13 later, setting up the exciting finish.

Notes

D Garnet Exelby and F Frederik Sjostrom were scratched for the Maple Leafs, while F Todd Fedoruk, tough guy Zenon Konopka and D Matt Smaby sat out for the Lightning. ... Leafs D Luke Schenn twice drilled Lightning F Alex Tanguay.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Tampa Bay (27-27-12)11103
Toronto  (22-33-12) «02114
Three Stars
V. Stalberg
TOR


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
S. Stamkos
TB


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
P. Kessel
TOR


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
18:17Power Play - Steven Stamkos (43), Slap Shot. Assist: Foster, Lecavalier
2ND PERIOD
09:29Viktor Stalberg (4), Snap Shot. Assist: Caputi, Schenn
16:17Viktor Stalberg (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Caputi, Grabovski
16:41Kurtis Foster (8), Slap Shot. Assist: Stamkos, St. Louis
3RD PERIOD
03:37Tyler Bozak (5), Snap Shot. Assist: Kessel, Kulemin
05:00Steve Downie (18), Wrist Shot. Assist: Lundin, St. Louis
OT
03:33Phil Kessel (23), Backhand Shot. Assist: Bozak
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:13Gunnarsson, 2 min, Tripping
17:36Phaneuf, 2 min, Interference
2ND PERIOD
11:38Downie, 2 min, Slashing
18:03Downie, 2 min, Roughing
18:03Phaneuf, 2 min, Roughing
3RD PERIOD
13:04Lundin, 2 min, High-Sticking
OT
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
Tampa Bay147930
Toronto9111333
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Mike Smith 63:28344
Jean-Sebastien Giguere 63:33303
Game Information
Attendance - 0
Referees - Stephane Auger, Dennis LaRue
Linesmen - David Brisebois, Scott Driscoll
 
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