TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Lightning maintained their dominance at home.
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop made 25 saves and team captain Steven Stamkos set up a pair of goals in a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
The Lightning earned their 14th triumph in 16 home games, matching a single-season record for victories there with 25. They have nine more opportunities to add to the total before the playoffs.
”We want it to be a tough place to play,” said Ryan Callahan, who gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead with a first-period goal. ”We want teams to come in here and know we are good at home and they’re going to get our best, and so far we’ve done that.”
The Maple Leafs have prevailed only once in 18 road games since New Year’s Eve. They broke through Tuesday with a 3-2 triumph against the Florida Panthers, whose top two goaltenders were injured during the game.
Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Alex Killorn also scored for Tampa Bay, which has won five of its past six home games against Toronto.
David Booth and Richard Panik scored for the Leafs.
Kucherov opened the scoring at 4:25 of the first, snapping a wrist shot past Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier into the upper-left corner of the net.
Callahan added his 21st goal of the season on a deflection off the stick of defenseman Eric Brewer, playing his first game for Toronto since being acquired in a trade with Anaheim on Monday. Brewer began the season with Tampa Bay.
Toronto coach Peter Horachek was frustrated by his club’s 11 turnovers in the opening period.
”That put us on our heels, and they score those two goals and we’re chasing the game again,” he said. ”We have to be mentally ready to play better than that.”
Booth made it 2-1 early in the second period, redirecting a backhand pass from Peter Holland. The goal spoiled the Lightning’s bid for a third consecutive shutout on home ice.
”It’s tough when you lose. You don’t feel good after those games,” said Booth, who has recorded points in four of his past seven games. ”I thought our first period, we really struggled. I don’t know what the excuse was for that, but it wasn’t good enough.”
Panik closed out the scoring with 2:18 left in the game.
Leading 2-1 after two periods, Namestnikov and Killorn scored in the third against Bernier, who finished with 27 saves.
Bishop played for the first time since a lower-body injury after getting hit by a puck during Tuesday’s morning skate. Rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy notched his first NHL shutout that night, a 3-0 home victory against Buffalo.
NOTES: Stamkos has 15 goals and 16 assists in 24 games against Toronto. . Namestnikov was called up from the AHL on Wednesday. . Recently acquired Toronto players Tim Erixon and Joakim Lindstrom are from the same small city in Sweden. Erixon and teammate Brandon Kozun were scratched. … Tampa Bay is 29-0-2 in games it led after two periods.