TAMPA -- John Tavares scored twice for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 4-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.
William Nylander had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs (33-23-8), who lost their previous game to emergency goalie David Ayres and the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. Frederik Andersen made 26 saves to keep Toronto two points ahead of the Florida Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division.
"We've scored a lot of goals all year, I'm not too concerned about us finding ways to put the puck in the net," Tavares said. "We just have to play to our capabilities and have that consistency."
[WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Lightning highlights]
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 19 saves for the Lightning (40-18-5), who lost at home for the first time in 12 games and have lost three straight for the first time this season. Tampa Bay is second in the Atlantic Division, five points behind the Boston Bruins.
"We didn't play poorly 5-on-5, we didn't give them anything," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It was a total special-teams game. When you lose a hockey game and the losing team's players are plus and the [winning] team's players are all minuses, you know what decided that game."
Tavares' second of the game gave the Maple Leafs a 3-2 lead at 12:25 of the second period. Nylander made it 4-2 with power-play goal at 14:21 when he went between his legs and beat Vasilevskiy to the far post.
"That's pretty sweet; I didn't know he went in between the legs at first, I saw it here after," Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie said. "He's been scoring big goals for us all year and obviously that was a beauty tonight."
Video: TOR@TBL: Tavares deflects Barrie's shot home for PPG
Nylander said his vision was impaired on the move so he just elevated the shot.
"I can't really see anything, so I'm going to by feel," Nylander said. "But obviously you have to get it up there if you want to score."
Yanni Gourde made it 4-3 at 7:27 of the third period. Barclay Goodrow, making his Lightning debut after being traded by the San Jose Sharks, had an assist.
"The energy felt a bit low overall," Gourde said. "We had that energy in the third period and we were making plays and getting the puck in the zone. That's what we do well. Every single shift we needed to do that."
Nikita Kucherov gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead at 9:46 of the first period with his 30th goal of the season. Jake Muzzin tied it 1-1 at 12:48.
Tavares scored on the power play at 16:42 of the first period with a tip of a shot by Barrie to give the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead. Pat Maroon tied it 2-2 at 11:54 of the second period.
Toronto was 2-for-4 on the power play; Tampa Bay was 0-for-3.
"One thing we've relied on lately is our penalty kill," Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "Those guys are going out there and doing a tremendous job, but [right now] we're not getting the lucky bounces and some of them are going in."
Video: TOR@TBL: Nylander roofs between-the-legs shot for PPG
Lightning forward Steven Stamkos left the game late in the second period with an undisclosed injury.
"We'll have to check, but some things that have been bothering [him] in the past got to him today and he couldn't come back," Cooper said of the Tampa Bay captain.
They said it
"I think the circumstances are obvious, not much more needs to be said. Each game only gets more important, and certainly with where things are, it's a big game." -- Maple Leafs captain John Tavares on their upcoming game against the Florida Panthers
"When you look at odd-man rushes, they were coming off our power play. Their penalty kill probably outchanced our power play and their power play scored. So to me that was the difference in the game." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper
Video: TOR@TBL: Kucherov nets one-timer off Stamkos' feed
Need to know
Muzzin left the game with an injury to his right hand. Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said the defenseman's status would be determined after further evaluation. ... Toronto did not score on seven shots in the third period Saturday against Ayres, a 42-year-old who had never played an NHL game. ... Tampa Bay lost to an Atlantic Division opponent for the first time since a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 12. ... Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian was minus-2 with two shots on goal and three hits playing 14:24 in his Tampa Bay debut after signing as a free agent Sunday. ... Kucherov has 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) in his 17-games-played point streak. ... Nylander has five points (two goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak.
Video: Clutch Performance: Tavares buries two beauties
Maple Leafs: At the Florida Panthers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, FS-F, TSN4, NHL.TV)
Lightning: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; SUN, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)
Video: Tavares, Nylander lead Maple Leafs defeat Lightning