NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Tampa Bay
(Tuesday, March 17th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, Tampa Bay 3 (SO)
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - John Mitchell scored the game-winner in the sixth round of the shootout, as the Toronto Maple Leafs erased a three-goal deficit, rallying to win 4-3 over Tampa Bay at St. Pete Times Forum.
Mitchell also scored in regulation and Jeffrey Hamilton sent the game to overtime with a goal late in the third. Jason Blake had a goal and an assist and provided the Leafs with an abundance of energy in the comeback win.
Toronto has won three of four and is now 8-3-1 over the last 12 games, keeping the club's slim playoff chances alive. Curtis Joseph recorded 19 saves in the win.
Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Matt Pettinger scored for the Lightning, who had a brief two-game winning streak snapped. Tampa Bay staked Karri Ramo to a three-goal lead but watched it slip away as he allowed three goals on 39 shots with each coming over the final 20:24.
Hamilton got the shootout's first tally with a flip over Rammo but Lecavalier came back three shooters later, deked backhand to forehand and roofed it to extend the game.
Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin had chances to win it for Toronto but Rammo stuck out the right pad on the former and Kulemin sent one off the post.
Joseph, though, stoned both Vinny Prospal and Evgeny Artyukhin, allowing Mitchell to beat Rammo five-hole for the win.
Blake took a pass from a streaking Lee Stempniak down the left wing and beat Rammo five-hole 3:24 into the third to get back within one, 3-2, and Mitchell lit the lamp with 5:31 left in regulation, sending the game to an extra session.
Both goaltenders weathered a spirited end-to-end overtime period that saw six shots on goal.
Tampa Bay got power-play goals from Lecavalier at 13:39 of the first and Stamkos 2:26 into the second. Pettinger then netted his fifth of the year just 10 seconds later for the handy lead before the Leafs got one back just before the close of the second.
Blake danced through the Lightning defense into the left circle and back behind the net before Mitchell deflected the wraparound attempt to get Toronto on the board with 24 ticks left.
The Lightning had won four straight in the series overall...Stamkos, the top overall pick of the most recent draft, has five goals and five helpers over his last 10 games. The Ontario-born center has two goals and two assists in four games versus the Maple Leafs...Tampa Bay has lost four straight and seven of its last 10 at home...Toronto has won five of its last six on the road and are 16-16-4 as the guest this season.
03/17 23:14:15 ET