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Stamkos' hat trick sends Bolts past Leafs
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Steven Stamkos netted a natural hat trick, while both Ryan Malone and Valtteri Filppula added two assists in Tampa Bay's 5-3 victory over Toronto at Air Canada Centre.
Radko Gudas and Tyler Johnson contributed scores for the Lightning, winners of four straight following a five-game losing streak.
Ben Bishop augmented his offense by stopping 36-of-39 shots.
Nikolai Kulemin, Phil Kessel and Jake Gardiner lit the lamp for the Maple Leafs, who fell three points behind their Wednesday foes after dropping their third in a row.
Tyler Bozak picked up two helpers, though James Reimer allowed all five goals on 30 shots in defeat.
Gardiner was allowed to move from the left point to the top of the right circle to deposit his marker at 8:20 of the third which drew the hosts within 4-3, but the visitors struck back on the advantage to increase their lead to two as Malone fed Johnson for a one-timer from the right side with 7:04 to play.
Reimer was called to the bench for an extra skater with 1:42 to play and Bishop shut the door despite the Leafs moving the puck well in their offensive zone in a 6-on-5 situation.
Gudas opened the scoring just 59 seconds after the opening faceoff on a long, low shot from the left point, but Kessel equalized while on bended knee from the left side at 3:31.
Kulemin redirected a Tim Gleason point offering between Bishop's pads at 10:32 to put Toronto on top, then the Bolts matched it on the advantage on a Stamkos one-timer and went ahead with 4:21 left on another quick Stamkos try off a pass from Johnson.
Things took an ugly turn when Tampa forward Alex Killorn was given a major for boarding and a game misconduct for ramming Leafs defenseman Paul Ranger into the end boards in the final seconds of the period.
Ranger was immobilized and removed from the arena on a stretcher. He was taken to a local hospital for observation, and the Leafs stated later that Ranger was in stable condition, conscious and alert.
The Leafs failed to click on the five-minute power play, and less than a minute after the penalty was through, Stamkos produced his third of the night off a Malone dish to make it 4-2.
Stamkos recorded his second hat trick of the season, his first since returning from a broken leg, and the seventh trifecta of his career ... Tampa Bay halted a four-game losing streak in Toronto since its last win, a 6-2 decision on Mar. 14, 2011.
03/19 22:19:30 ET