NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Tampa Bay
(Tuesday, January 16th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, Tampa Bay 2
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Alex Steen's late third-period goal was the eventual game-winner, as the Maple Leafs edged the Lightning, 4-2 at St. Pete Times Forum.
Alexei Ponikarovsky and Nik Antropov both tallied a goal and an assist for Toronto, which has won two of its last three games. Tomas Kaberle registered a pair of helpers, and John Pohl also scored.
Andrew Raycroft made 21 saves on the night to pick up his 19th win, erasing the memory of Saturday night's 6-1 embarrassment at the hands of the Canucks.
"I would say that he was the best player on the ice tonight," Leafs head coach Paul Maurice said of Raycroft. "They're on the top of their game right now. They have some of the best shooters in the world on their team and we needed him to be as big as he was. Our team plays very well on the road and I think that is very important."
Vincent Lecavalier and Dan Boyle scored for Tampa Bay, which saw its five-game winning streak halted. Marc Denis gave up three goals on 27 shots, dropping to 10-13-2 on the season.
Steen netted the deciding goal with 4:21 left in regulation, when he followed up Matt Stajan's blocked shot in the crease by shooting the rebound high over a sprawling Denis.
Ponikarovsky then hit the empty net with 55.7 seconds remaining for his 12th of the year and a 4-2 result.
"We didn't skate in the third period for some reason like we did in the first two," said Tampa forward Brad Richards. "That got us into trouble. We didn't have the puck enough in their end like we did in the first two periods."
Tampa scored first with 5:08 left in the first while shorthanded. After Denis stoned Steen on a point-blank chance, the puck was cleared up ice by Martin St. Louis, and Lecavalier chased it down in the neutral zone. He broke in on a 2-on-1 with his fellow Quebec native, weaved up the slot, and stuck a wrister to the far side on Raycroft for a 1-0 lead.
Antropov tallied with 2:18 played in the second, on a blistering one-timer from the slot after Ponikarovsky, skating on the left side, spotted him open in a seam between two Lightning players.
Boyle gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead at 17:33, as he beat a Leafs defender to a loose puck in the left circle. Ruslan Fedotenko took the initial shot from the right circle, and the rebound ricocheted to the defenseman, who had moved up from his point position to score.
Toronto fought back to tie the game with 6.9 seconds left in the period, when Bryan McCabe's shot from the point got away from Denis, who was screened by bulky forward Bates Battaglia. The puck skittered away to the right side of the net, where Pohl promptly shoveled it home.
Toronto enjoys a 34-12-2 record against Tampa Bay since the Lightning entered the league in 1992...Lecavalier's goal gives him an eight-game point streak, and St. Louis' assist extends his point streak to 12 consecutive games...Toronto outshot Tampa 8-2 in the third period.
01/16 23:18:40 ET