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 4-3

TAMPA — Coach Rick Tocchet said that coming off a weeklong road trip, he knew Wednesday night's game with the Maple Leafs would be a grind.

Tocchet noticed that some guys looked a little tired, and they played like it in a 4-3 loss in front of 15,333 at the St. Pete Times Forum. It was the Lightning's first regulation home defeat of the season.

Tampa Bay (9-6-7) showed plenty of fight, coming from behind twice to tie the score. But Tocchet said it wasn't mentally sharp, and a few mistakes, from turnovers to missed coverages, turned into quality chances for the last-place Maple Leafs.

"I don't think we showed consistency tonight," left wing Stephane Veilleux said. "We need to get going a little more, and I thought it was the main difference.

"We can't rely on our goalie every night, and I think we need to give a little more, especially in front of our fans. … And coming back from the road like that, we need to dictate our own game."

Wednesday, the Lightning did the opposite. "We kind of waited around to see what kind of game (Toronto) wanted to play, and we just kind of joined in," wing Ryan Malone said.

The Maples Leafs (5-11-7) jumped on the Lightning early with two first-period goals, one by Nikolai Kulemin, who scored off a rebound, and another by a streaking Niklas Hagman, who received a perfect two-line pass and got between David Hale and Paul Szczechura before beating goalie Antero Niittymaki.

The Lightning tied it in a flash, scoring twice in 30 seconds with about five minutes left. One goal came on a power play by Andrej Meszaros, who one-timed a great pass from Steve Downie, and the other came on an impressive effort by Jeff Halpern, who collected his own rebound as he fell to the ice and set up Vinny Lecavalier's fifth of the year.

"I thought (Halpern) was probably one of our best forwards," Tocchet said.

Malone tied the score at 3 about eight minutes into the second period with his 15th goal of the season, but the Maple Leafs went ahead for good with less than two minutes left. Matt Stajan took advantage of a turnover near mid ice and carried the puck in before wristing a shot into the top left corner of the net.

"When you don't have it, you've got to play real simple and smart," Tocchet said. "You've got to get pucks in deep and just buy your time. I thought we tried to make stuff that wasn't there on two goals. I'm a little disappointed in that because I think that's a mental toughness that we're looking for when you're tired."

Said Malone: "For 60 minutes we weren't very good. We deserved to be beat tonight."

Maple Leafs 2 2 0 4
Lightning 2 1 0 3

First Period1, Toronto, Kulemin 4 (Gunnarsson, Primeau), 6:45. 2, Toronto, Hagman 10 (Beauchemin, Gunnarsson), 11:54. 3, Tampa Bay, Meszaros 3 (Downie, Stamkos), 14:14 (pp). 4, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 5 (Halpern, Tanguay), 14:44. PenaltiesDownie, TB (charging), 7:00; White, Tor (tripping), 13:28; Hanson, Tor (roughing), 15:04.

Second Period5, Toronto, Hagman 11 (Grabovski, Exelby), 1:20. 6, Tampa Bay, Malone 15 (Stamkos, St. Louis), 7:51. 7, Toronto, Stajan 6 (Gunnarsson), 18:13. PenaltiesHedman, TB (tripping), 15:43.

Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesTanguay, TB (tripping), 7:57; Kulemin, Tor (tripping), 9:21. Shots on GoalToronto 13-11-11—35. Tampa Bay 14-11-6—31. Power-play opportunitiesToronto 0 of 3; Tampa Bay 1 of 3. GoaliesToronto, Gustavsson 4-4-5 (31 shots-28 saves). Tampa Bay, Niittymaki 6-2-3 (35-31). A15,333 (19,758).

Tampa Bay Lightning loses to Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 11/25/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 11:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  4. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State


    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.