NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Toronto
(Monday, March 14th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 6, Toronto 2
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Mattias Ritola scored two goals and Teddy Purcell notched three assists, as Tampa Bay defeated Toronto, 6-2, and swept the season series between the two clubs.
Vincent Lecavalier, Dominic Moore, Mike Lundin and Nate Thompson all tallied for the Lightning, who moved within three points of idle Southeast Division leader Washington.
"We knew they (Toronto) were desperate and had been playing hard of late," said Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher. "The playoffs are getting closer and closer and we just focused on our game and we were able to get some secondary scoring and come out on top."
Dwayne Roloson had 30 saves in the win, which was Tampa Bay's second of the month and improved its less than impressive March record to 2-4-2.
Dion Phaneuf and Nikolai Kulemin lit the lamp for the Maple Leafs, who have severely hurt their playoff chances with four losses in the last five games.
"We're going to have to find a way to regroup and bounce back," Toronto head coach Ron Wilson said.
James Reimer was chased out of the net after surrendered five goals on 29 shots. Jean-Sebastien Giguere replaced Reimer and stopped 6-of-7 shots.
The pace picked up nearing the halfway point of the middle stanza with three goals in five minutes.
The Bolts started the flurry and went on top, 2-1, with some strong forechecking during the end of the nine minute mark. Adam Hall scrounged up the puck from the corner and carried it from behind the net for a wrister at the right circle. The shot was blocked, but Ritola was there to jam in the rebound.
Ritola tallied his second goal of the period just over three minutes later with a wrister from the right slot to go up 3-1. The 24-year-old center's two- goal period made up for half of his goal total for this season (four).
The lead wouldn't stand very long as the Leafs found the back of the net two minutes later. After blocking a shot at the top of his own zone, Kulemin raced down the other end and sent a snap shot stick side past Roloson.
However, it went back to a two-goal margin, 4-2, with 67 seconds left of the period. This time it was Lecavalier's poke at the puck during a goal mouth rumpus that sent the disc over the line.
The Lightning put the game away at the 8:47 mark of the third when Martin St. Louis threw the puck in front of the net and Moore tipped it in for a 5-2 lead.
Giguere, who came in after Moore's goal, let in Lundin's slap shot from the left point with 5:28 remaining to make up the final score.
The first 30 minutes of play was tightly matched with Thompson's one-timer in the high slot breaking the scoring at the 9:53 mark of the first. The Leafs knotted it up at one 5:12 into the second when Phaneuf sent a low shot past Roloson from the slot.
St. Louis and Steven Stamkos, who each had two assists, extend their points streak to five games...Toronto is 16-14-7 as the host this season, while the Bolts improved to 17-13-4 on the road...Tampa Bay did not have a power play opportunity while the Leafs went 0-for-3...Toronto remains six points behind the last Eastern Conference playoff spot.
03/15 01:24:23 ET