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game recap

Steven Stamkos helps Lightning hold off Maple Leafs

Forward has two goals, two assists for Tampa Bay at Toronto

by David Alter / NHL.com Correspondent

Stamkos beats Andersen in front

TBL@TOR: Stamkos opens the scoring with an early goal

Steven Stamkos collects the puck in front and slips it past Frederik Andersen to put the Lightning up 1-0 early in the 1st period

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TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos scored two goals and had two assists for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 7-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.

It was Stamkos' first game against the Maple Leafs since the forward signed an eight-year contract with the Lightning days before he was to become an unrestricted free agent. Toronto reportedly had interest in signing the native of nearby Markham, Ontario.

"I think this year, what has helped me is coming into the rink with no distractions and a clear mind," Stamkos said. "It all helps in having fun and feeling confident."

Stamkos made it 1-0 at 1:19 of first period. Tampa Bay defenseman Andrej Sustr intercepted a clearing attempt from Toronto center Auston Matthews and found Stamkos, who got a partial breakaway to deke past goaltender Frederik Andersen.

Sustr would find Stamkos again for his second goal at 17:12 of the first period and a 3-0 lead. Sustr backhanded a pass from the boards and Stamkos took a long-range wrist shot past Andersen. Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov had the second assist, one of his four points.

Video: TBL@TOR: Stamkos rips a one-timer past Andersen

Stamkos assisted on Victor Hedman's goal at 7:23 of the second period to make it 4-0, and on Kucherov's goal at 6:45 of the third period that made it 5-1. The four points tied Stamkos' NHL career high.

"I was really happy for [Steven] because I'm sure it was a tough decision for him," Lightning coach John Cooper said. "With the decision he made, plus it's his hometown, so fans pay a ticket and they're entitled to do what they want, but I think [Steven] is a good son to Toronto."

Alex Killorn made it 2-0 at 7:15 of the first period. He has scored in five of six games for the Lightning this season.

Video: TBL@TOR: Killorn beats Andersen to make it 2-0

Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin scored third-period goals for Tampa Bay after Toronto pulled within 5-3. Ben Bishop made 40 saves for his third win of the season.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Matthews scored for Toronto. Matthews leads the NHL with 10 points and is tied for the lead with six goals (Richard Panik, Chicago Blackhawks).

Video: TBL@TOR: Nylander roofs a wrister past Bishop for PPG

Nylander's goal came on the power play at 19:03 of the second period and made it 4-1. Nazem Kadri made a cross-ice pass to Nylander, who shot it into an open net.

Toronto has a power-play goal in four consecutive games. Andersen made 17 saves.

Video: TBL@TOR: Drouin finishes three-on-one rush with PPG

 
Goal of the game

Hedman scored on a cross-ice pass from Stamkos deep in the Toronto zone. The defenseman used his stick to flick it through Andersen's pads in front of the net. "He was up, backing up and then down in the crease," Cooper said. "When he's got his skating legs, he's like an elite player in this league."

Video: TBL@TOR: Hedman slips a backhander past Andersen

 
Save of the game

Prior to that goal, Stamkos attempted a similar cross-ice pass to Hedman, who had a wide-open net, but Andersen managed to get his stick in the air and the shot went over the glass.

Video: TBL@TOR: Andersen reaches to make great stick save

 

Highlight of the game

Namestnikov's power-play goal at 15:10 of the third period made it 6-3. He parked in front of the net to screen Andersen and spun around to pick up the rebound from defenseman Anton Stralman's shot.

Video: TBL@TOR: Namestnikov buries rebound for PPG

 
Unsung moment of the game

Bishop took a wrist shot by Maple Leafs forward Peter Holland off his mask at 13:24 of the second period. Bishop lost a couple of crowns off his front teeth. "It wasn't really super painful or anything like that," Bishop said. "These guys in front of me lose teeth all the time, so I guess I just wanted to be like them."

Video: TBL@TOR: Bishop makes save, loses a few teeth

 
They said it

"We're very confident in his ability. We do a lot of work in advance to know what he's capable of doing, he's done it for three years straight. It hasn't gone very good for him. Tonight would be, I think, a point for him where he'd want to regroup from. He's a proud guy and it's very important that we support him, but he's got to get to work too and do his part. It's all part of being on a team." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on goaltender Frederik Andersen

 
Need to know

The Lightning scored in the first period for the first time this season, and the first time since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. … Tampa Bay has scored two power-play goals in consecutive games to begin a season-long six-game road trip. … Matthews extended his point streak to four games.

 
What's next

Lightning: At the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN360, RDS, SUN, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs: Host the Florida Panthers on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN4, FS-F, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Stamkos' two-goal night leads Lightning past Leafs

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