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game recap

Johnson leads Lightning to seventh straight win

Vasilevskiy makes 31 saves to get Tampa Bay past Toronto

by Mike Brophy / Correspondent

Johnson snipes opening goal

TBL@TOR: Johnson goes top-shelf to open the scoring

2/29/16: Tyler Johnson fires a wicked wrist shot over the glove of Garret Sparks to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead in the 2nd

  • 00:54 •

TORONTO - Tyler Johnson is a tough man to keep down.

One night after he took a shot in the face that caused his visor to shatter and open an 11-stitch cut over his left eye, Johnson scored two goals to help the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Monday.

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves to earn his 11th victory of the season. Tampa Bay (37-22-4) has won seven in a row.

"There was no chance I was going to miss the game," Johnson said. "I actually could have played the rest of [Sunday] night's game if there had been more time. It looks a lot worse than it is."

Nazem Kadri scored and Garret Sparks made 26 saves for Toronto (21-30-10), which has lost six of its past seven games.

Video: TBL@TOR: Johnson records his second goal of the night

The Maple Leafs had four players - forwards William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen, Nikita Soshnikov and Zach Hyman - make their NHL debuts. They were promoted from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, along with right wing Ben Smith and defenseman Connor Carrick. Forward Brooks Laich, who was acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals on Sunday, made his Maple Leafs debut.

"I thought they were good," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "They were fast, hard on the puck and they showed their skill. Tampa played [Sunday] night so you have to keep it in perspective, but I thought we had lots of opportunities. Kapanen has breakaway speed, Nylander has skill, Hyman is a relentless worker who can make plays and Soshnikov was good both ways. I liked Carrick too; I thought he had some grease to him."

Johnson said he was delighted to score twice, but the bigger deal was getting two points after having played three road games in four days. The Lightning moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division with the Florida Panthers, who have played one fewer game.

Video: TBL@TOR: Sparks lunges for a great stick save

"It is nice that we can play not really the greatest of games, but get a win," Johnson said. "To get three road wins in three road games in four days is great. We're feeling pretty good about ourselves. We're just trying to get into the playoffs and that's when the real season begins. We think about catching Florida. Getting first place has to be in the back of your mind, but at the same time you can't worry about it too much. We have confidence if we play our game, it doesn't matter if we finish first, second, third or get the wild card."

Sparks stole the show in a scoreless first period, making 15 saves. One shot got past him, but the puck hit the post.

But Sparks' luck ran out early in the second period when Johnson cruised to the top of the faceoff circle and beat him with a high snap shot at 4:53 for his 10th goal of the season.

Video: TBL@TOR: Kadri lights the lamp with extra skater on

Johnson scored his second goal of the game at 15:28 when his shot from in tight was partially stopped by Sparks, but the puck crawled over the goal line.

Kadri got the Maple Leafs within a goal when his long shot found its way through a crowd at 17:45 of the third period. It ended a nine-game drought without a goal.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos did not score; he had a goal in each of his previous six games.

"That's the beauty of our team," Stamkos said. "You can rely on different lines every game. Tyler showed a lot of character coming back from taking that puck to the eye [Sunday] and he gets rewarded from the hockey gods."

Video: Johnson's two-goal night powers Lightning's 2-1 win

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