Tampa Bay at Toronto

Lecavalier carries Lightning past Leafs with two spectacular goals


TORONTO -- The Maple Leafs outshot, outworked and outhustled the Tampa Bay Lightning, and still were done in by Vincent Lecavalier.

Lecavalier scoring a pair of highlight-reel goals in Tampa Bay's 3-2 victory against Toronto on Tuesday night.

"We had plenty of opportunities, a guy like that buries them," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said of Lecavalier. "He's one of the top players in the league -- you give him a couple of opportunities, he's probably going to score one; you give him three opportunities, he might score two.

"Some of our guys need five opportunities to score one."

The Maple Leafs recorded 39 shots at Mike Smith but scored only twice. Toronto, which had a two-game winning streak snapped, wasted a two-man advantage that lasted 1:11 of the first period and failed to generate enough traffic in front of Smith.

"This is a game we easily should have had," said forward Matt Stajan, who scored his first of the season. "We know we've got to be better, we can't take bits and pieces of nights off, especially on home ice against a team that's been struggling like them."

Jussi Jokinen also scored and No. 1 overall draft pick Steven Stamkos earned his first NHL point for the Lightning (2-3-3).

Lecavalier, who had four of his team's 25 shots, put the Lightning up 2-1 at 15:37 of the first period. Skating through the neutral zone, he dragged his leg at the Leafs blue line to allow Vaclav Prospal's breakaway pass to slide past him into the zone onside. Lecavalier cut in on goalie Vesa Toskala and tucked in an against-stride, one-handed backhander.

"It was a perfect pass behind me, which is perfect because it bounced right in front of me," Lecavalier said. "I just went to the net and I wasn't sure if his pad was going to get the puck, but it went."

Lecavalier stretched Tampa Bay's lead to 3-1 at 4:08 of the second when he took a pass from Prospal in the slot and made a move before beating Toskala high during a power play. Stamkos, who was a Leafs fan growing up in Ontario, earned the second assist.

"He's an immense talent, he's one of the top-10 most talented players in the world," Lightning coach Barry Melrose said of Lecavalier. "People saw that."

Mike Van Ryn also scored for the Maple Leafs, pulling them within a goal on a power play at 13:15 of the second by flipping a shot over a prone Smith.

Smith made a terrific stop on Alexei Ponikarovsky with five minutes to go and another on John Mitchell with two minutes left. He stopped 13 shots in the third period.

"Obviously we don't have a Vinny Lecavalier," Wilson said.

The Lightning led 2-1 after a first period in which both teams squandered long two-man advantages.

Jokinen opened the scoring at 5:08, depositing a pretty cross-ice pass from Mark Recchi into an empty net.

Stajan tied it at 1 at 7:34 with his first of the season by tipping Nik Antropov's centering pass up in the air and past Smith on a dribble.

"That's a game we should have won," Leafs forward Niklas Hagman said. "Our first period was really bad, especially our line, I don't know what kind of hockey we were playing, we just got to stick to the game principle and systems and work a little bit harder.

"The second we got a little bit and the third we created a lot but just couldn't put it in."


  • Stamkos was thrilled to earn his first NHL point in Toronto. "I think it was louder than when the Leafs scored," he said. "It was great to have that fan support."
  • Smith earned an assist on Lecavalier's first-period goal, becoming the fifth goalie this season to pick up a point.
  • Maple Leafs D Luke Schenn, chosen four spots after Stamkos in the 2008 NHL Draft, played his first game since being told that he would stay with the Maple Leafs rather than return to his junior team, Kelowna of the Western Hockey League. He's the Maple Leafs' first 18-year-old player since Drake Berehowsky in 1990.
  • Toronto D Jonas Frogren, scratched Saturday to make room for Jeff Finger, was out of the lineup again along with Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo.
Copyright 2018 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.
Vincent Lecavalier beats Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala for one of his highlight-reel goals.  (Getty Images)
Vincent Lecavalier beats Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala for one of his highlight-reel goals. (Getty Images)
Tampa Bay  (2-3-3) «2103
Toronto (3-3-3)1102
Three Stars
V. Lecavalier

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
M. Grabovski

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1
M. Smith

Saves: 37
Save Pct.: .949

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Scoring Summary
05:08Jussi Jokinen (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Recchi, Lundin
07:34Power Play - Matt Stajan (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Antropov, Ponikarovsky
15:37Vincent Lecavalier (4), Backhand Shot. Assist: Prospal, Smith
04:08Power Play - Vincent Lecavalier (5), Backhand Shot. Assist: Prospal, Stamkos
13:15Power Play - Mike Van Ryn (2), Snap Shot. Assist: Grabovski, Hagman
Penalty Summary
58.0Finger, 2 min, Holding
01:24Van Ryn, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
06:57Krajicek, 2 min, Interference
08:17Prospal, 2 min, Holding
10:10Ranger, 2 min, Hooking
10:59Gratton, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
04:03Mayers, 2 min, Hooking
06:27Lundin, 2 min, Hooking
11:58Malik, 2 min, Holding
17:09Van Ryn, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
02:14Kaberle, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
Shots On Goal
Tampa Bay911525
Mike Smith59:58372
Vesa Toskala58:30223
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Tampa Bay1-for-5
Game Information
Attendance - 19348
Referees - Greg Kimmerly, Bill McCreary
Linesmen - Mike Cvik, Scott Cherrey
Other Games
Bos 1 Final
Van 0
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Wash 4
Colo 0 Final
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Atl 0
Pitt 1 Final
SJ 2
Car 2 Final
Mon 3