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game recap

Lightning get 61st win, defeat Maple Leafs to move one from record

Score two goals in third period, season finale next

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

Stamkos nets SHG on breakaway

TBL@TOR: Stamkos beats Andersen on shorthanded break

Steven Stamkos drives to the net on a breakaway and beats Frederik Andersen glove side for a shorthanded goal in the 2nd

  • 00:52 •

TORONTO -- The Tampa Bay Lightning became the second team in NHL history to win 61 games in a season when they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday.

The Lightning (61-16-4) are one win from matching the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most wins in NHL history (62-13-7). Tampa Bay plays its regular-season finale at the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

"We're not really talking about those records much, but it's a sign that we're consistent with our game, which we obviously want to be," Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "We take a lot of pride in being competitive and not allowing losses to snowball into something bigger, so it's good we can have a quick response after losses this year and get back on the winning page."

 

[WATCH: All Lightning vs. Maple Leafs highlights]

 

Mitchell Marner scored, and Frederik Andersen made 26 saves for the Maple Leafs (46-28-7), who will finish third in the Atlantic Division, behind the Lightning and Bruins.

"I thought we played well," Marner said. "We didn't make many mistakes, but again, we have to stop making any mistakes because people are scoring on them. We have to clean some things up, but I thought our team played well together tonight."

Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves for the Lightning.

"We just controlled the puck and made smarter plays," Stamkos said. "I thought the other night (a 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday), we looked a step behind -- granted we were on a back-to-back there -- but I just didn't think we had our legs. Tonight we managed the puck and supported each other a lot better, and you can tell. When we have the puck more, that's where our team is dangerous."

Killorn one-timed a pass from Stamkos in the slot at 14:12 of the third period to put Tampa Bay ahead 2-1.

Video: TBL@TOR: Stamkos sets up Killorn for go-ahead goal

"I was at the end of my shift and I just wanted him to go in and shoot it, really, but he found me because I think everyone kind of gravitates towards him when he has the puck," Killorn said. "It was a terrible shot, just a change-up, but that's probably why it went in."

Nikita Kucherov scored his 40th goal of the season into an empty net with 55 seconds left to make it 3-1.

The Maple Leafs took a 1-0 lead at 4:41 of the first period. Marner blocked McDonagh's pass at the blue line, and Zach Hyman played it ahead for Marner, who skated into the Lightning zone and shot between Vasilevskiy's pads.

"I never really shoot on 2-on-1s so I thought I'd try it," Marner said. "It's usually a hard save for goalies, and I was trying not to look at him so he couldn't see where I was looking and it luckily got through him."

Stamkos tied it 1-1 at 5:37 of the second period when he scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway.

"It was a good game. Both teams played well and didn't give up too much, but they got their one extra goal," Andersen said. "Overall, though, a pretty good effort from us."

Video: TBL@TOR: Kucherov joins Stamkos, Point with 40 goals

 

They said it

"He was playing great on both sides, he does it all the time for us, but even more tonight playing in his hometown, he just was a driving force for us as far as getting momentum on our side again, getting us back in the game and making a great play on the game-winning goal. It's great to see him playing with confidence on both sides of the ice." -- Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh on Steven Stamkos

"The timing is always off a little bit, whether to stand up on the play or to get back, but it was a lot easier transition than I expected. For sure there is a lot of relief that I was able to play. I think it would have been tough to go into Boston (for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs) not having played a game, so I'm glad I was able to do this and then play again on Saturday." -- Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner, who played 16:51 after missing 18 games with a back injury

 

Need to know

Kucherov is one point from tying Alexander Mogilny for the most points by a Russia-born player in an NHL season. Mogilny had 127 in 1992-93 for the Buffalo Sabres. ... Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri (maintenance) and defenseman Jake Muzzin (illness) were scratched. Coach Mike Babcock said they will not play Saturday but will be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs.

 

What's next

Lightning: At the Boston Bruins on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; SN360, NESN, SUN, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs: At the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, SN1, TVAS, NHL.TV)

Video: Kucherov, Vasilevskiy help Lightning reach 61st win

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