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Lightning break through against Scrivens, Leafs

by Lonnie Herman

TAMPA, Fla. -- Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ben Scrivens entered Tuesday night's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning riding a two-game shutout streak.

He exited with 14:02 remaining in the third period after allowing four goals on 13 shots.

The Lightning scored twice in the final period, including a power-play goal on a blast from the left point by defenseman Matt Carle, to cruise to a 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

If Scrivens had any thoughts of a third consecutive shutout, those vanished at 9:25 of the opening period. A mishandled pass in the Maple Leafs zone bounced to Benoit Pouliot, who slid the puck to wide-open Vincent Lecavalier.

Lecavalier's wrist shot was good for his sixth goal of the season and ended Scrivens' shutout streak at 147:35. The score extended Lecavalier's point streak to five games, and Martin St. Louis was credited with an assist, his League-leading 18th.

"Obviously my performance tonight was not good enough to win the game," Scrivens said. "Seems like I was getting some fortunate bounces the last couple of games and today they bounced the other way. It's the nature of the game. Those are the breaks."

The Maple Leafs evened the score, 1-1, with 2:01 remaining in the first. Nikolai Kulemin was allowed to stickhandle unimpeded through the slot, and though Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback made the save on his shot, the puck went to a charging Mikhail Grabovski, who collected his fourth goal of the season on the rebound.

With just under five minutes gone in the second period, Cory Conacher's pass from behind the net found Steven Stamkos in front of the crease and Stamkos did not miss, opening up a 2-1 lead for Tampa Bay while collecting his 10th goal of the season.

Pouliot had the second of his three assists; he has 12 points over his past 10 games.

"It feels good," Pouliot said. "You get points and you feel better about yourself and you show the team you are ready to play. The confidence mentally is great."

Lightning forward Alexander Killorn scored his second career goal in as many games when his soft shot from the left side found a way through Scrivens and into the Toronto net at 2:49 of the third. The score opened the two-goal cushion for the Lightning.

Carle's goal knocked Scrivens from the net. Jussi Rynnas, on the roster in place of injured James Reimer, got his first action this season and stopped six shots in relief.

The Maple Leafs (10-7-0) pulled within 4-2 with just under four minutes remaining when James van Riemsdyk scored his ninth goal of the season off a deflection in front of the crease. Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak assisted.

"I don't like them getting that second goal," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "It's the result of changing our game at 4-1. We don't want to do that so we'll learn from that.

"I think we played 55 solid, solid minutes, and I didn't like the last five minutes. We want to continue to do the right things until the very end. [It was] 55 minutes of solid hockey. We didn't give them much and that's what we wanted. It was 55 minutes of, 'We're gonna play the right way and we'll see what the results are after.'"

Lindback stopped 23 shots, including a highlight-reel save in the third period as the netminder moved swiftly across the crease to rob Kulemin as he tried to complete a 2-on-1.

Tampa Bay (8-6-1) produced 19 shots on net, equaling their season low, which came against the New Jersey Devils in a 4-2 loss Feb. 7.

But shots on goal weren't necessarily part of the game plan Tuesday, with the Lightning looking to take advantage of the back-to-back game that Toronto was playing.

"Our mentality was to make them turn and come to us on their feet because they played last night," Carle said. "It worked out for us. We wanted to wear them down and thought it would pay off over the course of 60 minutes."

Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said his team didn't do enough to win.

"I don't know if we demonstrated enough determination or desperation until the last seven minutes of the hockey game,” Carlyle said. "It seems like we were a flat group for a good period of the game."

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