Maple Leafs Beat Bolts in Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. — Mitchell Marner scored a go-ahead goal late in the second period, Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau each had a goal and an assist, and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Thursday night.

Frederik Andersen stopped 36 shots and Zach Hyman added an empty-netter for the Maple Leafs, who had lost five of seven.

Tampa Bay got goals from Brayden Point and Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves. Nikita Kucherov, the NHL points leader with 76, had an assist after two straight games without a point.

The Lightning have a 14-point lead in the Atlantic Division over Toronto. Tampa Bay’s nine-game home winning streak ended.

Toronto took a 3-2 lead with 5:11 left in the second when Andreas Johnsson made a nifty backhand pass from behind the net to John Tavares, who sent the puck through the crease to a wide-open Marner.

Andreas Johnsson, Dan Girardi, Andrei Vasilevskiy
Toronto Maple Leafs Andreas Johnsson and Tampa Bay Lightning Dan Girardi and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Marner reached 60 points in 46 team games, tied for fourth-fastest in Maple Leafs history. Only Lorne Carr (39 games, 1943-44), Darryl Sittler (40, 1977-78) and Doug Gilmour (41, 1992-93) did it quicker.

Tavares finished with two assists.

Both goalies made strong saves during the third. Andersen went post-to-post to stop Kucherov’s shot, and Vasilevskiy reached back near the goal line to grab Auston Matthews’ shot that went off his glove.

After Marleau ended a nine-game goal drought with his 11th of the season at 13:06 of the second, Hedman pulled Tampa Bay even at 2 just 37 seconds later.

Marleau has 546 goals overall, 30th on the career list. He has 695 assists.

Point opened the scoring 9:48 into the game on his 30th goal during a power play. The centre became the first NHL player to have at least 30 goals and 30 assists this season.

Toronto tied it 1-all two minutes later on Kadri’s goal.

The Maple Leafs lost the first meeting between the teams this season 4-1 on Dec. 13 despite outshooting Tampa Bay 49-21 and hitting the post or crossbar four times during the opening 30 minutes.

The final two games of the season series are March 11 and April 4 in Toronto.

NOTES: Point has 13 power-play goals. … Kadri stopped a 10-game goal drought. .. Lightning C Steven Stamkos got his 350th assist on Point’s goal. He has six assists over the last five games.


Maple Leafs: Play at Florida on Friday night.

Lightning: Host the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.


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Mark Didtler, The Associated Press