|Bryan McCabe made his return to the lineup on Tuesday.
January 31, 2006
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Lightning were just happy to get two points this time.
Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards scored in a shootout, leading the Lightning past the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Tampa Bay was coming off a 2-1 defeat at Washington on Sunday. The Lightning outshot the Capitals 35-24, but went 0-for-7 on the power play.
"I just couldn't wait to start another game,'' Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "That was probably, to me, one of the toughest losses I've gone through. I'm glad they responded.''
Richards and Ryan Craig scored for the Lightning in regulation and Sean Burke had 25 saves. The Lightning have won six of eight, and improved to 2-10-1 against Northeast Division teams.
"It could have went either way,'' Lecavalier said. "We'll take the two points.''
Chad Kilger and Darcy Tucker had goals for Toronto, which has lost nine of 10. Ed Belfour made 35 saves, including a sprawling stop on Lecavalier's point-blank shot late in the second.
"They took it to us at times,'' Kilger said. "Eddie stood on his head and kept us in the game. We had our opportunities to win. Unfortunately it comes down to a shootout and somebody has to lose.''
Tucker hit the post and had an in-close shot stopped by Burke during the final minute of overtime. Burke stopped both shots he faced in the shootout.
"I'm disappointed because I had an opportunity to win the game for us,'' said Tucker, who also had an assist. "As one of the leaders on the hockey club, I expect myself to put the puck in the net when I get the opportunity.''
The Maple Leafs dropped to 16-2-2 when ahead after two periods. The Lightning are 3-12-1 when trailing after 40 minutes.
Kilger put the Maple Leafs ahead 1-0 from the slot at 16:25 of the first. Mats Sundin helped set up the goal, giving him eight assists in five games.
Richards tied it 1-1 from in close following a Toronto turnover with 0.6 seconds left in the period. He has nine goals and 21 points in 19 games against Toronto.
"It's an important goal because I thought we stunk in the first period,'' Tortorella said. "I think we watched them. I thought we lost a lot of battles. To get that goal in the last minute of any period, it's always tough for the team that's scored on.''
Toronto took a 2-1 lead on Tucker's power-play goal at 10:24 of the second. Tucker, who has a goal in three straight games, redirected Tomas Kaberle's shot.
Tampa Bay hadn't allowed a power-play goal in eight games.
The Lightning pulled even at 2-2 on Craig's power-play goal at 4:11 of the third.
Notes: Lightning broadcaster Phil Esposito has interviewed for the New York Islanders general manager position. The Hall of Famer, who played on two Stanley Cup winners in Boston, previously served as GM for Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers. "My competitive juices are starting to flow again,'' Esposito said. "There are only two places that I'd ever want to go if I did it again ... that's New York and in Boston.'' The Islanders might not name a new GM before March. ... Toronto D Bryan McCabe (groin) returned after missing nine consecutive games. ... Lightning D Darryl Sydor (facial laceration) missed his second straight game. ... Richards' goal was his 100th.