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Published May 02, 2016
Nazem Kadri had a goal and assist, and the Toronto Maple Leafs played the role of spoilers in a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lighting on Tuesday night.
One day after the Lightning secured a playoff spot, they fell behind 2-0 after a sluggish spell midway through the first period.
Kadri's goal at 8:53 marked the first time the Maple Leafs (29-42-6) had the lead in a game in 541:08 of action.
David Booth and Morgan Rielly also scored for Toronto, which got a fine 40-save performance from James Reimer in winning its second straight.
Ryan Callahan scored for Tampa Bay, which has lost three of four on its road trip.
The Lightning pulled their goalie with more than three minutes remaining and pressed hard to rally.
Toronto had its chances in a wide-open second period but failed to add to its 2-1 lead. The Maple Leafs, who hadn't led going into the third period since March 9, scored 24 seconds into the final frame on Rielly's wrist shot — his eighth goal of the season.
Toronto's call-ups continued to tick off firsts. Defenseman T.J. Brennan, with an assist, recorded his first point with the Maple Leafs, and forward Sam Carrick had his first NHL fight, a spirited first-period tilt with J.T. Brown.
Tampa Bay clinched its playoff berth with a 5-3 win on Monday, completing a five-game sweep of the Canadiens while setting a franchise record for wins (47). Only 17 of those victories have come away from home.
The Lightning, with 101 points, are one behind Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Tampa Bay still leads the NHL in regulation and overtime wins (45) as well as goals scored (250).
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman left Monday's game and joined an injury list that already included defensemen Jason Garrison, Andrej Sustr and Braydon Coburn, and center Tyler Johnson.
That meant an NHL debut for Syracuse call-up Slater Koekkoek, a defenseman who played with Rielly for Saskatchewan's Notre Dame Hounds.
Reimer remained in goal, having helped Toronto to a 4-3 overtime win Saturday over Ottawa that snapped a seven-game losing streak. It marked his first back to-back starts since early February.
With Ben Bishop having played Monday, Andrei Vasilevskiy got the start for the Lightning.
He was beaten midway through the first period on the power play when Joakim Lindstrom's shot deflected off Kadri's skate in front of the net for his 17th goal.
Booth, with his seventh, doubled the Maple Leafs' lead minutes later with an innocent-looking low shot that went through Koekkoek's legs and beat Vasilevskiy.
Callahan cut the deficit to 2-1 on the power play later in the period, tapping in a rebound for his 23rd goal after Reimer made a pad save on Ondrej Palat.
The Lightning had scored just one power-play goal in their previous six road games, going 1-for-22.
Tampa Bay's Alex Killorn hit the post in the second period after accelerating past Eric Brewer. Toronto's Richard Panik then shot wide when in alone.
NOTES: Toronto visit Buffalo on Wednesday. The Lightning will play Thursday at Ottawa. ... There was a moment of silence before the game to honor Carley Allison, who died Tuesday at 19 of lung cancer. Allison sang the national anthem in Toronto for a Hockey Fights Cancer night in November.