Leafs cruise past Lightning
The Toronto Maple Leafs turned a much-desired uptempo game into a victory.
Tyler Bozak scored two goals and added an assist and Tim Connolly had a goal and two assists to lead the Maple Leafs to a 7-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
''There were some moments, but we pretty much negated their forecheck for the most part,'' Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. ''And we wanted to push the pace and I thought we were really effective doing it.''
Clarke MacArthur, Joe Colborne, Joffrey Lupul and Joey Crabbe also scored for the Maple Leafs, who had lost four of five.
Vincent Lecavalier scored for Tampa Bay, which has lost four of five.
''We're not as consistent as we want to be,'' Lecavalier said. ''In this league, to be a playoff team, you've got to be consistent. We've got to be better at it.''
Toronto went ahead 3-1 when Connolly (17:56) and Bozak (19:22) scored first-period power-play goals. Connolly scored after Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman received a four-minute penalty when his high-stick struck MacArthur in the face.
''It's nice to have a bunch of guys contributing,'' Bozak said. ''We had every line going tonight, and that's how we want to play.''
Bozak and Lupul scored 1:21 apart early in the third as Toronto took a 6-1 lead. Crabbe had a goal later in the period.
''Our attitude in the face of adversity wasn't good. ... It usually is,'' Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. ''I'm certainly not one to get discouraged. There are solutions.''
Lupul has two goals and five assists during a four-game point streak.
MacArthur put the Maple Leafs up 1-0 just 41 seconds into the game. The left wing had missed the previous three games due to an undisclosed upper body injury.
''Obviously, scoring the first goal on the first shift got us in the right frame of mind,'' Wilson said.
The Lightning had a couple strong scoring chances shortly after MacArthur's goal, but Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson made a pad save on Lecavalier's shot during a 2-on-1 and Brett Clark had a drive from the top of the right circle that hit the post.
''The guys are playing great, scoring a lot of goals, and they work hard in both ends,'' said Gustavsson, who made 27 saves. ''So that's good for the team and it feels good to play when you see them score goals.''
Lecavalier did convert his next chance, tying it at 1 from the right circle during a power play at 8:38 of the first.
Colborne got his first NHL goal to make it 4-1 with 2:15 remaining in the second. The center, playing in his fourth NHL game, scored on goalie Dwayne Roloson from the slot off a back-hand pass from Matt Frattin.
Roloson was pulled after allowing six goals on 21 shots. Lecavalier and teammate Martin St. Louis both were minus-4 for the game.
NHL scoring leader Phil Kessel had an assist, giving him 30 points this season. The Toronto center has league-leading 16 goals.
Notes: Maple Leafs G James Reimer, who has sat out the past 15 games because of concussion-like symptoms, continues increasing his on-ice workouts and could return soon. ... Lightning C Steven Stamkos had an assist. He has 11 assists and 17 points in 13 games against Toronto. ... Connolly has two goals and six points over his last three games. ... Stamkos and Toronto D Jake Gardiner both got double roughing minors with just under two minutes to play in the third. ... Gardiner had two assists, four minor penalties and finished plus-4. ... Tampa Bay RW Steve Downie left after two periods with an upper body injury.