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Leafs Lose Discipline

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Asif Hossain

January 21, 2010
St. Pete Times Forum
Tampa, FL
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Martin St. Louis' slap shot from the edge of the left faceoff circle on a 4-on-3 power play, with just 9.8 seconds remaining in overtime plunged the knife into the hearts of Leaf fans everywhere. 

The Leafs paid a heavy price for not putting the Lightning away with a 2-1 lead in the closing stages of the third period. Instead, penalties to Alexei Ponikarovsky with 4:16 left in regulation and a too many men on the ice infraction in overtime led to the Leafs falling 3-2 in Tampa.

8 Times this season Leafs scored multiple power play goals in a game.
2 Toronto had this many fights and even strength shots in the 1st period.
4 Number of assists for Gunnarsson against Tampa in two games.
7 Number of assists for Kessel in his last seven games.
1 All three games between Leafs and Lightning this season has been settled by one goal.
1st Star
Martin St. Louis
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 4
2nd Star
Jonas Gustavsson
32 29 3 64:21 .906
3rd Star
Antero Niittymaki
22 20 2 64:50 .909
Caption This

While the Leafs failed to close out the contest, Toronto-area forward Steve Stamkos and his high-scoring Lightning teammates grew in confidence.

Stamkos scored a goal in the second period slapping the puck past Jonas Gustavsson's short side just as a power play expired.  He then assisted on both the game tying and winning goals, showing a menacing presence on the man advantage. 

Had the Leafs seen this one through, Ian White would be the player of the game, not just the best Leaf on the night.

White opened the scoring by instinctively jumping on a rush as Phil Kessel slid the puck over to the blue liner, and with a quick flick of the wrist White beat Antero Niittymaki for his ninth goal of the season. Defensively, White did well to keep Tampa's big scorers at bay and can not be faulted for any of the Lightning goals.

After a pair of sleepy periods, the Lighting suddenly jolted into action in the third.

The home team had just seven shots on goal in each of the first two periods, but then surpassed the total sum of the the opening 40 minutes with 15 shots in the third alone.  Add another three in overtime and Gustavsson suddenly found himself under siege in the latter stages of the game, facing a set of very talented players on Tampa.

Ron Wilson on Ponikarovsky's two third period penalties and a lack of team discipline:

"He took two bad penalties. One they scored on and the other one prevented us from regaining some momentum. We should have been more disciplined. We weren’t and we lost because of it."

Thursday January 23 @Panthers
  7 PM ET (CBC, AM640)

Game Notes:
The Leafs wrap-up their five game road swing against the Panthers on Saturday night.

This is the third of four meetings between the two teams. Leafs won the previous two games by 6-4 and 3-2 scores respectively, Gustavsson the winning goalie both times.

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