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Lightning-Maple Leafs: Rewinding Tampa Bay’s win

Tampa Bay's strong finish to the second period sprung them to a win over second-place Toronto
Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) takes a faceoff against Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares (91). [DIRK SHADD |Times]
Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) takes a faceoff against Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares (91). [DIRK SHADD |Times]
Published Dec. 14, 2018|Updated Dec. 14, 2018

The Maple Leafs controlled 59 minutes, the Lightning dominated one.

That's the way Lightning coach Jon Cooper classified it. And he was right. Toronto controlled most of Thursday's game, but the Lightning put together an electric minute to close out the second period with two goals.

"That was the game," Cooper said.

Alex Killorn scored the first goal off a backhand and 34 seconds later, Tyler Johnson added another. Defenseman Dan Girardi won a race to a loose puck, who passed it to Nikita Kucherov, setting up Johnson.

The combination of that minute and brilliance from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made it possible for the Lightning to win a game they probably don't win most nights. Cooper said as much.

Here are some odds and ends from the Lightning's win:

• The Lightning struggled to take care of the puck early on. Kasperi Kapanen intercepted a pass from Kucherov and scored on Vasilevskiy. The Lightning made a few other turnovers that could have also become goals.

"He probably wants that one back," Cooper said.

• Kucherov made up for his mistake, though. He scored the game-winning goal during a second-period Lightning power play to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead 5:31 into the second frame. Kucherov extended his scoring streak to four games.

"Great job by him and a much-needed goal for us," Cooper said. "They had us up against the wall and to be able to take the lead, especially when we had given up the goal early, big play, big shot. It's what he does. It's great."

• The Lightning's penalty kill turned in a strong performance. Tampa Bay killed all six penalties against a Toronto team that has one of the league's best power-plays. Granted, Vasilevskiy played a key role in killing those penalties as he made save after save.

• Tampa Bay extended its win streak to eight games, two wins shy of the highest win streak in the NHL this season. That belonged to Buffalo, whom the Lightning beat to start the win streak.

• The Lightning's 51 points through 33 games broke their franchise record from last season of 50 points. Those 51 points also put the Lightning atop the NHL. The next closest team: Toronto and Nashville with 43 points.

More on the Lightning:

Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy doesn't miss a beat in his return

Lightning journal: Anthony Cirelli continues hot streak against Maple Leafs

Photo gallery: Check out photos from the Lightning's win

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