After an emotional comeback win against the Florida Panthers Saturday (2/16) the Tampa Bay Lightning won their second game in a row Tuesday (2/19) against a hot Toronto Maple Leafs team. The Maple Leafs played a game against the Florida Panthers on Sunday night (2/18) and earned an easy 3-0 win. Before Tuesday night’s game against the Lightning, the Leafs had won 6 of 8 games. The Lightning had been struggling, winning only 2 of 8 games in February before winning by a score of 4-2 Tuesday night.
Vincent Lecavalier opened the scoring for the Bolts at 9:25 in the first period after Benoit Pouliot found Vinny alone in the left faceoff circle. Just two minutes before that, Mike Brown and B.J. Crombeen dropped the gloves. After both were restrained, Brown threw a punch at Crombeen, earning him an extra 10 penalty minutes. This was an interesting turn of events, as the game later on would become chippy. The Leafs responded near the end of the period to tie the game. At 17:59 of the first period, Mikhail Grabovski tied the game for Toronto. Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback couldn’t handle a shot from Nikolai Kulemin that went off of his glove, and Grabovski was there for an easy rebound goal.
The second period saw the Lightning score a single goal when Steven Stamkos fired the puck into the net from the goal crease. Most of the work for this goal was done by Pouliot and Cory Conacher behind the net. Pouliot and Conacher pressured the Leafs’ defense behind the net. Eventually the puck was turned over and Conacher found a wide open Stamkos in front of the net. The goal came just under 5 minutes into the first period. The rest of the period was rather quiet, even after the Lightning had 2 full power play chances.
The third period involved more commotion. It began with the second NHL career goal in as many games for Alexander Killorn 2:49 into the final frame. Four minutes later, Matthew Carle fired a blast from the blue line on the power play that beat Leafs’ goaltender Ben Scrivens. Scrivens was then pulled in favor of backup goalie Jussi Rynnas. About midway through the period, the chippiness returned as Victor Hedman and Nazem Kadri exchanged shoves. A group of players surrounded them, and they eventually dropped the gloves, neither landing a solid punch. Keith Aulie and Mark Fraser were also sent off the ice for fighting. Colton Orr took a roughing penalty and a 10 minute misconduct. Aulie took an extra two minutes for a high stick in the scrum as well. Leafs’ forward James van Riemsdyk would score with just under 4 minutes to go in the game, but it would prove to be too little too late. The Lightning would go on to win the game by a final of 4 goals to 2.
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