[46-27-9]
2
3
01/28/2014
FINAL
[38-36-8]
123T
TBL0202
42SHOTS26
31FACEOFFS37
35HITS26
6PIM6
0/3PP0/3
12GIVEAWAYS6
4TAKEAWAYS9
18BLOCKED SHOTS13
     

Maple Leafs top Lightning on van Riemsdyk's goal

Wednesday, 01.29.2014 / 12:00 AM

James van Riemsdyk goal with 4:03 remaining in the third period put the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead. The best of Jonathan Bernier's 40 saves kept them there.

Van Riemsdyk broke a tie on a goal that needed an on-ice decision overturned by video review and Bernier robbed Martin St. Louis less than a minute later to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

Toronto went ahead when Tyler Bozak forced a turnover in the Lightning zone and fed Phil Kessel, who found van Riemsdyk alone in the slot for a wide-open snap shot that beat Ben Bishop. The play was originally ruled no goal on the ice, but a video review showed that the shot had hit the back bar at the top of the net, rather than the post, giving van Riemsdyk his 21st goal of the season.

"I didn't know what was going on, until I heard they were looking to see if it hit the back bar," van Riemsdyk said. "I wasn't too worried after that point.

"Bozie did a good job forcing the turnover, making their defenseman make a play under pressure. He was able to steal the puck and get it over to Phil, and Phil slid it to me. He laid it on a platter for me."

Bernier then made a game-saver on a wide-open one-timer by St. Louis from the lower right circle with 3:17 remaining.

"I think that save was unbelievable," Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "You watch it and you wonder how he got over there to stop a guy who can put the puck in the net. He read it perfectly, he got over in time. When Marty St. Louis gets stopped like that, it's a huge, game-changing save."

There wasn't much for Lightning coach Jon Cooper to do but tip his cap.

"You have to give it up to their goaltender, especially with the save on Marty at the end," Cooper said.

Bernier has faced 40 or more shots 10 times this season and won seven times.

"He was incredible all night," van Riemsdyk said. "We're lucky to have him."

Bishop made 23 stops for Tampa Bay, which saw its three-game winning streak end.

"We played pretty well actually," Cooper said. "I thought we created enough chances to win the game, including a bunch of Grade A chances. We had an opportunity to build a bit of a lead, and we didn't, so it's a tough one to swallow."

Toronto (28-21-6) closed within five points of second-place Tampa Bay (31-17-5) in the Atlantic Division.

Nazem Kadri scored twice in the first half of the second period for Toronto, but goals by Matt Carle and Matt Barberio in a 3:59 span late in the period got the Lightning even.

The Lightning outshot Toronto 11-8 in a scoreless first period during which neither team generated many high-quality chances, even though the Maple Leafs had three power plays. That changed quickly in the second period.

Kadri opened the scoring at 1:49 on a fine individual effort. He picked off a pass just outside his own blue line, raced down the left side and used Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman as a screen as he fired a shot that beat Bishop for an unassisted goal.

Kadri made it 2-0 a little less than eight minutes later with another fine effort. Joffrey Lupul batted a pass to Kadri in the left circle; he toe-dragged past Hedman, cut to the front of the net and deked Bishop before tucking home a backhander at 9:47 for his 14th goal and ninth point in seven games.

A holding penalty on Toronto's Peter Holland 60 seconds after Kadri's second goal appeared to spark the Lightning, who hit two posts during the power play and scored less than 30 seconds after it ended. Carle took a pass from Ondrej Palat in the slot, stepped to his left and whipped a shot past Bernier at 13:13 for his second of the season.

"It was a broken play," Carle said. "Palat made a great pass, and I was right in the slot, so I took a shot and it went it."

The Lightning couldn't capitalize on a second power play, but they kept controlling the play and tied the game at 17:12 when Barberio slammed home a rebound after Bernier stopped shots by Nate Thompson and B.J. Crombeen but got no help in clearing the rebound. It was the fourth goal for the rookie defenseman, all of which have come in the past four games.

"We played well in the first period and the Maple Leafs got a couple breaks off of rushes to score their two goals," Carle said. "But on the bench we talked about staying in the game and were awarded with two goals of our own."

Tampa Bay outshot Toronto 18-8 in the second period and 27-16 through 40 minutes.

Kessel missed a chance to put Toronto back in front 3:25 into the third period when he raced in alone on Bishop but fired wide.

Material from team media was used in this report.

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