NHL

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 - 7:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Lightning rally to beat Maple Leafs

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TORONTO (AP)

Simon Gagne made an impressive return to the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup, scoring 1:15 into overtime Tuesday night for a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Lightning at a glance

 
Tampa Bay Lightning
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The star forward also provided a screen when Martin St. Louis tied the game with just 8.7 seconds left in regulation.

It was quite a night for Gagne, who had missed 18 games with a neck injury. The overtime winner came on a 2-on-1 rush with Brett Clark and was his first goal as a member of the Lightning.

St. Louis had two goals and Ryan Malone also scored for Tampa Bay.

Nikolai Kulemin scored twice and Kris Versteeg had the other goal for Toronto.

It was the beginning of an important three-game homestand for a Maple Leafs team that has dropped eight in a row away from Air Canada Centre. With the playoffs drifting further from view, this stretch of the schedule seems critical.

Toronto's struggling offense got a nice gift just 1:25 into the game. Lightning goalie Dan Ellis was unable to handle a long bouncing shoot-in, triggering a play that ended with Versteeg scoring his seventh goal after Tyler Bozak's attempt went wide.

Maple Leafs at a glance

 
Toronto Maple Leafs
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A familiar story line developed from there as Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson was called on to make a couple of tough saves.

He kicked out his right leg to deny Dominic Moore and seemed to distract Dana Tyrell when he stacked the pads on a breakaway chance.

The Maple Leafs appeared to go ahead 2-0 before the intermission, but Luke Schenn's goal was quickly waved off because Clarke MacArthur was deemed to have interfered with Ellis. Replays appeared to show Victor Hedman backing the Toronto forward into the crease.

Tampa Bay tied it at 1 after a nice play by Gagne, who was in the lineup for the first time since Oct. 21. He stopped the puck behind the goal and got it quickly to Malone, who beat Gustavsson with a wraparound at 5:18 of the second period.

Kulemin put the Leafs ahead by two goals with a hard shot from the top of the circle on a power play at 11:51 before adding an insurance marker just more than 7 minutes into third, knocking in a loose puck after it had taken a funny bounce off the boards and fooled Ellis.

St. Louis took over from there, beating Gustavsson from in close just more than a minute later before sending the game to overtime by blasting a shot past the Toronto goalie.

The decision to shift Nazem Kadri to center on Toronto's top line with Phil Kessel and MacArthur didn't yield any results. The unit appeared disjointed at times and Kadri struggled with the move back to center — winning just three of 16 faceoffs through 40 minutes — before being replaced by Bozak late in the game.

On the bright side for the Maple Leafs, they managed to contain NHL goals leader Steven Stamkos. He was held without a goal, making it the first time all season he's gone three games without scoring.

Tagged: Lightning, Maple Leafs, Simon Gagne, Martin St. Louis, Brett Clark, Dan Ellis, Nikolay Kulemin, Jonas Gustavsson

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