Ben Bishop made 25 saves, and Ryan Callahan, Vladislav Namestnikov and Alex Killorn scored for the Lightning (40-20-6), who are three points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings for second place in the Atlantic Division, having played four more games.
Tampa Bay tied a Lightning record with its 25th home win.
”We’ve been real good at home (25-6-1), and from the start of the year we wanted this to be a tough place to play,” Callahan said. “We want teams to come in here knowing that they are going to get our best. You think about home ice more as we get closer to the [Stanley Cup Playoffs] and you are trying to get as high as you can.”
David Booth and Richard Panik scored for the Maple Leafs (26-34-5), who finished a four-game road trip 1-3-0. Toronto ended a 16-game road losing streak Tuesday with a 3-2 win at the Florida Panthers.
Kucherov gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead 4:25 into the first period when Tyler Johnson found him wide open at the right circle, where he sent a snap shot past Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier. When Johnson skated into the zone, he attracted four Maple Leafs defenders, which left Kucherov open for the pass.
“I think we really came out with a purpose,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “But we took our foot off the gas a little, and that has happened to us the last couple of games. Since we’ve been home after that [Chicago Blackhawks] game (a 4-0 win Feb. 27), we have had some dips for periods in our game and we’ve got to eliminate those.”
Callahan put the Lightning ahead 2-0 with his 21st goal of the season. He took a slap shot from the point that hit the stick of Toronto’s Eric Brewer to bounce up and get past Bernier at 15:17 of the first.
“We’ve got to find ways to keep those out,” Brewer said. “I thought we played two solid periods, but the first period wasn’t that great.”
Toronto scored 6:48 into the second period when Booth completed a 2-on-1 with a shot past Bishop’s glove off an assist from Peter Holland.
“We had a great start, but that second period is something we’re going to have to talk about,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “I think sometimes you get the start you want and you did what you wanted to do, but [you] get too comfortable and forget that there are 40 minutes left in the game.”
Tampa Bay scored twice in the third period. Namestnikov, a call-up from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League on Wednesday, scored when a slap shot from Andrej Sustr hit his skate and got past Bernier at 6:31.
It was Namestnikov’s fourth NHL goal, but first since Oct. 30.
“It was nice to score here because I haven’t done that in a while, and it was a good look by [Sustr],” Namestnikov said. “But it’s just good to be back in this locker room and help these guys get two points they really needed.”
Killorn made it 4-1 on a power-play goal when he received a pass from Stamkos in front of the net and easily slid the puck past Bernier at 15:14. It was Stamkos’ second assist.
The Lightning have scored seven power-play goals in the past six games.
“I thought we finished well and closed out the game like we were supposed to, even though we allowed them to get one late,” Stamkos said. “[Namestnikov] and Killorn had big goals, and that was what we needed.”
The Maple Leafs scored with 2:18 left in the third period when a slap shot from Nazem Kadri hit Panik on the shoulder and bounced past Bishop.
Toronto did not score on a power play for the final 1:49.
“The [Lightning] are the exact same team as before,” Brewer said. “They are quick and they move the puck. That’s what happens with you have continuity. I would have liked for it to turn out a little different."