Matt Pettinger, Martin St. Louis, Ryan Malone and Paul Szczechura all scored goals to lift the Lightning to a 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs on Thursday night. Tampa Bay is 3-0 against Toronto this season.
Lee Stempniak had given Toronto a 1-0 lead, but it didn't last. The Maple Leafs had earned 15 of 22 points in their previous 11 games but couldn't cope with the Lightning, who have the second fewest points in the NHL.
The tired Lightning gritted their way to a win after a 3-2 overtime loss at Ottawa on Wednesday.
"My legs felt better in the third than they did in the first," Malone said. "You get your second wind and kind of just roll with it."
Stempniak scored the only goal in the first period that included only 12 shots on goal.
"We were standing around," Malone said of his team's slow start. "We weren't strong on the puck individually and they did a good job of getting on us."
Luke Schenn slapped a long shot and the puck bounced to Stempniak at the front of the crease. Tampa Bay goalie Karri Ramo lost his balance and Stempniak smacked in his 13th goal at 3:21. He has scored 10 times in 49 games since being acquired from St. Louis.
The Lightning tied it with a second-period breakaway. Maple Leafs goalie Martin Gerber fell into his net while blocking the puck with his right leg but he couldn't stop Pettinger's shot from crossing the goal line at 5:25.
St. Louis made it 2-1 at 17:10 when he fired a cross-ice pass from Steven Stamkos into the open side for his 25th goal.
"It's a lot easier to play with a lead," St. Louis said.
Tampa Bay outshot Toronto 16-5 in the second period.
"We responded well from our loss in Ottawa," Malone said.
Anton Stralman took his second penalty of the night at 13:06, and Malone took advantage by scoring his 24th goal at 14:35.
Szczechura capped the scoring by beating Gerber with a wrist shot at 17:54.
"They took it to us in the second period and part of that was our fault," Stempniak said. "We didn't take the extra stride to get pucks in or really pay the price to win the game.
"The game was right there at the beginning of the second period but it just turned in their favor."
Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson was ejected in the final minute for arguing with the referees.
"I've been kicked out before," Wilson said. "It's not a big deal."
Notes: Tampa Bay led 30-21 in shots. ... A spectator threw a puck onto the ice in the third period, and a linesman retrieved it as play continued. ... Lightning rookie Steve Stamkos has 14 goals and 33 points in 65 games. ... Tampa Bay won two previous games against Toronto this season 3-2 on Oct. 28 and 6-4 on Feb. 12. ... Going into the game, man games lost due to injuries totaled 258 for Tampa Bay and 159 for Toronto.
|Lee Stempniak (13) ASST: Jason Blake (31), Luke Schenn (6)|
1 - 0 TOR
|Matt Pettinger (4) ASST: Martins Karsums (2)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Martin St. Louis (25) ASST: Steven Stamkos (19), Ryan Malone (16)|
2 - 1 TBL
|PPG - Ryan Malone (24) ASST: Cory Murphy (10), Vincent Lecavalier (36)|
3 - 1 TBL
|Paul Szczechura (3) ASST: NONE|
4 - 1 TBL
|Power Play %||17.8%||18.8%|
|% on Road||13.5%||10.3%|
|% at Home||22.2%||25.0%|
|Evgeny Artyukhin Holding against Brad May|
|Evgeny Artyukhin Hooking against Nikolay Kulemin|
|Anton Stralman Interference against Steven Stamkos|
|Phil Oreskovic Slashing against Ryan Craig|
|Nikolay Kulemin Holding against Matt Pettinger|
|Jeff Halpern Hi-sticking against John Mitchell|
|Anton Stralman Tripping against Steven Stamkos|
|Evgeny Artyukhin Misconduct (10 min) against Ben Ondrus|
|Ben Ondrus Misconduct (10 min) against Evgeny Artyukhin|
|Ryan Craig Misconduct (10 min) against Ben Ondrus|