TORONTO (CBS) The Tampa Bay Lightning hoped to find greener pastures on the road after winning three straight games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, but the Toronto Maple Leafs ended their short-lived streak with a 7-3 win at the Air Canada Centre.
Tampa Bay gave up seven goals during the first meeting with the Leafs on Nov. 22, but in that game they only managed to scored one goal.
Joffrey Lupul led the offensive onslaught for Toronto with one goal and three assists en route to his 300th career point.
Vincent Lecavalier opened the scoring less than a minute into the first period with a nifty move and quick wrister by Jonas Gustavsson’s glove to make it 1-0. The Leafs would take the lead through the first period of play though, receiving goals from Carl Gunnarsson and Lupul to acquire a 2-1 lead.
Steven Stamkos scored his league-leading 27th goal of the season to tie the game 11:55 into the second period. Four goals were scored in less than two minutes during the second period, but it was Toronto that secured a two-goal advantage heading into the second intermission.
Mikhail Grabovski scored 33 seconds after Stamkos to regain a one goal lead for the Leafs. Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina knotted the game at three 58 seconds later with a shot from the left faceoff circle passed Gustavsson.
Mathieu Garon made an early exit after letting in a goal 17 seconds after Kubina’s, ending his night with 17 saves and four goals allowed. Matt Frattin rounded out the scoring for Toronto in the second with a rebound goal in the final minute of the period to give the Leafs a 5-3 lead.
It was all Toronto in the third, adding two insurance goals from Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel to guarantee a win and snap their three-game losing streak.
Special teams play ultimately determined the outcome of the game. Toronto killed all five Tampa Bay power plays, and on the other end they managed to convert on three of their six shorthanded opportunities.
The bolts travel to Ottawa on Thursday to try and turn things around on the road against the Senators.