TORONTO — The Lightning knew it was in for a difficult task with defenseman Mattias Ohlund missing the first half of the season, and possibly all of it, with knee issues.
"Catastrophic," coach Guy Boucher says.
And when Victor Hedman suffered a concussion last week to put him out indefinitely, Tampa Bay is without two of its top defensemen, leaving it exposed, especially on the road.
That being said, there was little defense for how the Lightning played as a whole in Tuesday night's 7-3 loss to the Maple Leafs in front of 19,425 at the Air Canada Centre. For Tampa Bay (17-18-3), a three-game winning streak ended in ugly fashion.
"It's pretty bad," center Steven Stamkos said. "That's twice against this team we've got killed. It's not like they're playing unbelievable hockey, everything they got tonight was the result of our breakdown, our turnover, our penalty. That's how we found a way to lose a game tonight and lose it pretty good."
Goalie Mathieu Garon didn't play well, getting pulled 13:43 into the second after allowing four goals in 21 shots. But he didn't get much help.
"They were getting point-blank shots, back-door plays — we let him down," defenseman Brett Clark said. "We haven't had a game like that defensively in a long time."
The Lightning tied it twice in a second-period flurry where the teams combined for four goals in 1:48. But after each Lightning score, Garon let one in less than a minute later. He was pulled in favor of veteran Dwayne Roloson, who also faced 21 shots.
The special teams were "awful," as Stamkos put it, including 0-for-5 on the power play, with a two-man advantage for 45 seconds. Tampa Bay, ranked fourth in power play at home (21.8 percent), is a league-worst 8.8 percent on the road.
"Sometimes, I feel we could have four orange cones against us on the road and still wouldn't manage to get a shot," Boucher said.
There were few silver linings for Boucher.
"We didn't put anything on the ice tonight," he said. "All our diseases came back at the same time."
First—1, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 14 (Wyman, Moore), :58. 2, Toronto, Lupul 18 (T.Connolly, Gardiner), 3:25. 3, Toronto, Gunnarsson 2 (T.Connolly, Lupul), 8:46. Penalties—Bergeron, TB (holding), 1:15; Downie, TB, double minor (roughing), 11:58; Phaneuf, Tor (roughing), 11:58; Franson, Tor (boarding), 14:40; Schenn, Tor (roughing), 17:20; T.Connolly, Tor (elbowing), 18:35.
Second—4, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 27 (St. Louis), 11:55. 5, Toronto, Grabovski 11 (Lupul, Schenn), 12:28. 6, Tampa Bay, Kubina 3 (Brewer), 13:26. 7, Toronto, Boyce 1 (Frattin, Aulie), 13:43. 8, Toronto, Frattin 5 (Kadri, Lombardi), 19:22. Penalties—Toronto bench, served by Frattin (too many men), 6:34; Downie, TB, served by Purcell, double minor-misconduct (unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing), 13:59; Boyce, Tor, minor-misconduct (roughing), 13:59; Aulie, Tor (roughing), 13:59.
Third—9, Toronto, Phaneuf 6 (Grabovski, MacArthur), 1:23 (pp). 10, Toronto, Kessel 22 (Lupul, Phaneuf), 12:28 (pp). Penalties—Purcell, TB (interference), :56; Gustavsson, Tor, served by MacArthur (tripping), 6:35; Kubina, TB (holding), 11:32; Hall, TB (roughing), 12:04; Thompson, TB, major (fighting), 16:32; Schenn, Tor, major (fighting), 16:32. Shots—Tampa Bay 11-7-6—24. Toronto 13-16-13—42. Power plays—Tampa Bay 0 of 5; Toronto 2 of 6. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Garon 11-10-2 (21 shots-17 saves), Roloson (13:43 second, 21-18). Toronto, Gustavsson 10-7-0 (24-21). A—19,425 (18,819). T—2:35.