Clarke MacArthur's goal 41 seconds into the game triggered a three-goal first period and Tyler Bozak scored twice as the Leafs blitzed the Lightning 7-1 on Tuesday night.
MacArthur, returning to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury, gave Toronto a quick lead by redirecting rookie defenseman Jake Gardiner's shot from the blue line past Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson for his seventh goal of the season.
"Scoring the first goal on the first shift got us in the right frame of mind," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said.
The Lightning (9-9-2) got even after allowing the first goal for the 13th time in 20 games played this season when Vincent Lecavalier converted on Tampa Bay’s second power-play opportunity of the game at 8:38. He beat Jonas Gustavsson on the short side to break an 0-for-10 power-play skid for the Lightning.
But Tim Connolly put Toronto (12-8-2) ahead to stay by beating Roloson on a deflection for a power-play goal at 17:56 with Victor Hedman serving a double minor for high sticking. Pavel Kubina joined Hedman in the box at 18:44 when he was called for interference, and Bozak got his first of the game by firing home a rebound with 16 seconds left in the period.
"Our power play did a great job tonight," Wilson said. "We had two power-play goals and probably could have had a couple more."
In the other locker room, Lightning coach Guy Boucher was upset with the penalties that led to the two power-play goals, and with his team's inconsistency.
"Stupid penalties," Boucher said. "We have to stay out of the box. Our attitude in the face of adversity wasn’t good. Right now, we’re like a leaky ceiling. When you patch one hole then you run over to the other hole that’s leaking and then you go back to the first hole that’s leaking again, and that’s what we have. We have to become consistent.
"The great thing about the game being over is that every moment after the game is a moment to change things."
Rookie center Joe Colborne scored his first NHL goal at 17:45 of the second period, and Toronto put the game away with third-period goals by Bozak, Joffrey Lupul and Joey Crabb. Bozak's goal came after Roloson's pass behind the net landed right on his stick -- the second time in as many games that a misplay by the 42-year-old goaltender wound up in the Lightning's net.
"I was hoping he would fling it back," Bozak said. "Then I just got lucky and had an open net."
Boucher lifted Roloson after Lupul ripped a wrister from the top of the right circle past him at 4:28 of the third period -- Toronto's sixth goal on 21 shots. Crabb finished the scoring against Mathieu Garon.
Frattin and Gardiner both had a pair of assists. Gustavsson stopped 27 of 28 shots for his sixth win of the season, helping to disappoint a sellout crowd of 19,204 at the St. Pete Times Forum, which saw the Lightning allow seven goals at home for the second time this season and turn in a second consecutive sub-par effort after snapping a six-game home winning streak.
The Lightning wrapped up a three-game homestand in which they went 1-2-0.
"We’re just not as consistent as we want to be," Lecavalier said. "To be a playoff team, you’ve got to be consistent and that’s something we have to get better at."
The Leafs, who have another two games remaining in their four-game road trip, scored seven goals for the second time in three days. They beat the Washington Capitals 7-1 at home last Saturday.
Wilson said the Leafs succeeded in pushing the tempo against a team that likes to trap.
"We wanted to push the pace so we wouldn’t have to face that 1-3-1," Wilson said. "I thought we were really effective at doing that."
1 - 0 TOR
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 TOR
3 - 1 TOR
4 - 1 TOR
5 - 1 TOR
6 - 1 TOR
7 - 1 TOR
Power Play Stats
Power Play %
% on Road
% at Home
Hi stick - double minor
Holding the stick