Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning wasted a golden opportunity to take over the Atlantic Division lead by losing to the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Tuesday.
The playoff-bound Lightning came into Air Canada Centre sitting one point behind the front-running Canadiens, who now have a game in hand following Tampa Bay's third loss in four games.
James Reimer made 40 saves in backstopping the Maple Leafs to back-to-back victories for the first time in over a month. Nazem Kadri scored a goal and assisted on Morgan Rielly's marker, and David Booth beat backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for the eventual game-winner midway through the first period.
Vasilevskiy had a shaky start and wound up with 25 saves in defeat.
"It doesn't matter if you're coming into a team that has struggled the second half of the season," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We tried to win the hockey game and just didn't have it tonight."
Just as a Maple Leafs power play was set to expire, TJ Brennan one-timed a cross-ice pass that Kadri re-directed into the net 8:53 into the game.
"(We) had great movement on the power play and it was a great seam pass. I just tried to get in front and set a screen... Luckily it hit me and went in," Kadri said of his goal.
Booth slipped one under Vasilevskiy's pads from the right boards 3:10 later, and it stayed 2-0 until Ryan Callahan cashed in on Tampa Bay's first power play late in the first period.
Both teams were a man down starting the third, and the open ice benefited the Leafs, as Rielly was left open on the right side and wristed one top shelf from a sharp angle just 24 seconds into the frame.
Toronto last won consecutive games on Feb. 21-26 ... Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman sat out with a lower-body injury ... Reimer came in 2-6-0 in eight career meetings vs. Tampa Bay .. The Lightning fell to 1-5-1 in Toronto over the past four seasons.