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Callahan, Stamkos lead Lightning past Maple Leafs

by Corey Long /

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are undefeated (15-0-0) when Ryan Callahan scores a goal since acquiring him in a trade with the New York Rangers last season.

Callahan's 12th goal this season couldn't have come at a better time for the Lightning.

The 29-year-old forward's power-play goal in the second period sparked a rally, and Steven Stamkos scored the winning goal at 11:05 of the third period to lift the Lightning to a 3-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Amalie Arena on Monday.

Tampa Bay (23-11-4) finished its homestand 3-0-0. Toronto (20-14-3) has lost five of its past six games.

Stamkos, who was left uncovered in front of the crease, redirected defenseman Matthew Carle's shot from the blue line past Toronto goalie James Reimer for his 20th goal, capping Tampa Bay's come-from-behind victory.

"It's always good to take care of business in this building," Stamkos said. "We have some lengthy road trips this season, so any time we can string three or four wins at home it will pay off for us down the stretch. [Callahan's] goal really kick-started the night and getting it done on the power play is big because we've been working hard to get that unit going."

Callahan scored at 6:37 of the second period to cut the Toronto lead to 2-1 after Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul was sent to the penalty box for slashing. Stamkos' shot from the slot deflected off Reimer's pad, and Callahan slapped the puck out of the air and into the net.

The Lightning entered Monday with three goals on their previous 43 power-play chances.

"You have to keep working hard and trying to get in front of the net," Callahan said. "We all try to do our part on the power play, and if we get things going, we know that we've got one of the best players in the world that can score at any time and get the win for us."

The Maple Leafs stormed out to a 2-0 lead in the first eight minutes of the game on goals from center Mike Santorelli and Lupul. The Lightning, however, controlled the play and held a 15-4 advantage in shots for the period.

"I thought we had a great first period to be honest with you. Obviously the score didn't show that," Callahan said. "But we were able to build on that in the second period and tie things up."

Santorelli scored his eighth goal off a cross-ice pass from center Nazem Kadri. Santorelli took the pass inside the faceoff circle and flipped a shot past Lightning goalie Ben Bishop at 4:28 of the first period.

Lupul gave the Maple Leafs a 2-0 lead at 7:47 of the first. He took a beautiful backhand feed from center Tyler Bozak and caught Bishop out of the crease for a shot at the open net.

"We got off to a better start tonight, but they did a good job with their forecheck," Toronto defenseman Cody Franson said. "They made it tough to execute, and we couldn't break out of our zone. We are working hard; we just aren't working smart enough."

Lightning center Valtteri Filppula tied the game 2-2 at 9:46 of the second period when defenseman Victor Hedman's wrist shot from the right circle went off his skate and past Reimer on the stick side. It was Filppula's seventh goal.

Reimer made 38 saves for the Maple Leafs, who will stay on the road to play the Boston Bruins on Wednesday. Reimer started back-to-back nights with Jonathan Bernier out because of an illness.

"We gave up far too many shots tonight and it's frustrating," Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "We had a back-to-back game, and they were sitting here waiting for us. I think you could tell which team was fresher, but with saying that, that's part of playing in the National Hockey League."

Bishop made 21 saves.

Hedman had two assists for the Lightning, who will travel to play the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.

"I felt like we were the better team throughout the game," Hedman said. "Even when we were trailing, you look and saw that we had a lot more shots and opportunities. We knew we were going to get some goals, and when we did [Bishop] closed the door."

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