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Two goals from Lecavalier leads Tampa Bay past Maple Leafs 3-2

NHL.com @NHL

TORONTO - Vincent Lecavalier scored a pair of highlight-reel goals and Mike Smith made 37 saves to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

Jussi Jokinen also scored and 2008 first overall pick Steven Stamkos earned his first NHL point for the Lightning (2-3-3), who picked up just their second win of the season as they struggle to jell after a massive off-season makeover. Only seven players on the roster were on the team last season.

Matt Stajan and Mike Van Ryn scored for the Maple Leafs (3-3-3), who played well before a home crowd of 19,348 but had no match for Lecavalier's skill in watching their two-game win streak end.

The star centre put the Lightning up 2-1 at 15:37 of the first period with a goal only a handful players have enough talent to pull off.

Skating through the neutral zone, he dragged his leg at the Leafs blue-line to allow Vaclav Prospal's breakaway pass to slide past him into the zone on-side, and then cut in on Toskala, tucking an against-stride, one-handed backhander past the helpless netminder.

Lecavalier extended the lead to 3-1 at 4:08 of the second when he took a pass from Prospal in the slot and made a move before beating Toskala high on the power play. Stamkos, who grew up a Leafs fan in nearby Markham, Ont., earned a second assist to end his point drought.

The Maple Leafs replied on a power play of their own at 13:15, as Van Ryn flipped a shot over a prone Smith to make it a one-goal game, but could get no closer.

Smith made a terrific stop on Alexei Ponikarovsky with five minutes to go and another on John Mitchell, promoted to the second line with Mikhail Grabovski and Niklas Hagman in place of Nikolai Kulemin, with two minutes to go. He made 13 saves in the third period.

The Lightning led 2-1 after a first period in which both teams squandered long two-man advantages, Tampa Bay failing to capitalize on 1:34 and Leafs blowing 1:11.

Jokinen opened the scoring at 5:08, depositing a pretty cross-ice pass from Mark Recchi into an empty net.

Stajan tied the game 1-1 at 7:34 with his first of the season by tipping Nik Antropov's centring pass up in the air and past Smith on a dribble.

Notes: Smith collected an assist on Lecavalier's first-period goal, becoming the fifth goalie this season to pick up a point. ... Luke Schenn, chosen four spots after Schenn, played his first game since being told that he'd stay up with the Maple Leafs rather than return to Kelowna of the WHL. He's the first 18-year-old to play for the team since Drake Berehowsky in 1990. ... Defenceman Jonas Frogren, scratched Saturday to make room for Jeff Finger, was out of the lineup again with Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo.

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