Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning loses to Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1

TAMPA — The Lightning's playoff hopes are not officially squashed, but after Thursday night's 3-1 loss to the Maple Leafs at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, reality should be sinking in.

This was a game Tampa Bay had to win as it came off an uplifting victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins to face a Toronto team on a 2-13-2 nosedive.

Instead, the Lightning (32-31-7), losers of four of five, wasted its game in hand on the Capitals to remain 11th in the Eastern Conference, seven points behind idle Washington for the eighth and final playoff spot with 12 games to go and three teams to jump.

"It was," center Steven Stamkos said, "a lost opportunity."

"I don't think it was our effort that wasn't there," defenseman Brian Lee said, "just our smarts."

It was a bad night for Tampa Bay in all sorts of ways — much to the delight of the boisterous Leafs fans who nearly split the sellout crowd — with the bright spots being Marty St. Louis' goal with 26 seconds left and Dwayne Roloson's 18 saves in relief of Dustin Tokarski.

Other than that …

Lee's ill-advised interference penalty seven seconds into the game provided a power play on which John-Michael Liles scored at 1:09.

Tokarski got little help from his defenses but struggled and was pulled with 7:23 left in the second period after allowing three goals on 10 shots.

Coach Guy Boucher had his hand in it as well. He short-circuited a second-period power play by mouthing off to referee Eric Furlatt for missing what he believed was a trip on Stamkos that would have given the Lightning, down 2-0, a 53-second five-on-three.

Thirty-eight seconds later, Jake Gardiner scored four-on-four through Tokarski's legs to make it 3-0 after a splendid play in which he passed to himself off the side boards and went around Lee. "You get a five-on-three and it's 2-0 and get an entire minute of five-on-three, that can change everything," Boucher said. "I saw, and still believe what I saw. I spoke my mind. To me it's a clear penalty and an easy (call) to make."

Still, there was no guarantee the Lightning would have converted; it went 0-for-5 with the extra man. And when it did challenge James Reimer, the goalie was solid with 33 saves.

Bottom line, the Lightning is going down for the third time. It is 1-2-0 on a seven-game homestand that was to be the linchpin of its playoff push. It is four points from the bottom of the East and Saturday faces the Blues, the NHL's No. 1 team.

"We cannot," Lee said, "afford to lose."

Maple Leafs 1 2 0 3
Lightning 0 0 1 1
Maple Leafs 1 2 0 3
Lightning 0 0 1 1

First Period1, Toronto, Liles 6 (Grabovski, Kessel), 1:09 (pp). PenaltiesLee, TB (interference), :07; Komisarek, Tor (hooking), 2:27; Stamkos, TB (holding), 13:08.

Second Period2, Toronto, Crabb 9 (Lombardi, T.Connolly), 3:27. 3, Toronto, Gardiner 5 (Lombardi), 12:28. PenaltiesWallace, TB (hooking), 3:51; Grabovski, Tor (holding), 10:47; TB bench, served by Wallace (abusive language), 11:54; Phaneuf, Tor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:38; Stamkos, TB (unsportsmanlike conduct, high-sticking), 19:38.

Third Period4, TB, St. Louis 23 (Clark), 19:34. PenaltiesGunnarsson, Tor (hooking), 5:18; Phaneuf, Tor (hooking), 8:06; Hall, TB (tripping), 18:00; Phaneuf, Tor, double minor (roughing), 18:38; Stamkos, TB (roughing), 18:38. Shots Toronto 4-10-14—28. TB 9-12-14—35. PP opportunitiesToronto 1 of 6; TB 0 of 5. GoaliesToronto, Reimer 12-12-4 (35 shots-34 saves). TB, Tokarski 1-2-1 (10-7), Roloson (12:28 second, 18-18).

Leafs 3

Lightning 1

Tampa Bay Lightning loses to Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 03/15/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 16, 2012 7:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday


    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during TCU’s 4-3 win in the College World Series.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101