Second-period burst sends Leafs over Lightning
Toronto, ON – Dion Phaneuf, Tyler Bozak and Nikolai Kulemin scored in a 6 1/2 minute span early in the second period, as Toronto took down Tampa Bay, 4-2, at Air Canada Centre.
Joffrey Lupul added a first-period tally and Nazem Kadri recorded a career- best three assists for the Maple Leafs, who put an end to their five-game slide.
"He was always good defensively," Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle said of Kadri. "What happens in your transition from junior to pro hockey, it's the number of times that you expose yourself to the high-risk, high reward and where you do and when you do it on the ice."
James Reimer stopped 26 shots in the triumph.
Radko Gudas and Cory Conacher scored for the Lightning, who had won two in a row.
Mathieu Garon started, but was pulled after yielding three goals on 13 shots in 27-plus minutes. He finished the contest with 15 saves. Anders Lindback played almost 21 minutes and allowed one goal on eight shots.
A Gudas wrister from the right point deflected off a Leafs defender and through to make it 4-1 at 7:44 of the third period, then Tampa crept within two as Conacher beat Reimer with 2:58 on the clock, finishing off a passing play between Martin St. Louis and Tyler Johnson.
The Bolts went with an extra attacker for the final minute but couldn't close their deficit further.
Lupul's deflection of a Kadri offering opened the scoring just shy of the seven-minute mark of the first period.
"We're pretty much on the same page offensively," Kadri added of his partnership with Lupul. "We know where each other are going to be before we're there."
Phaneuf beat Garon with 52 seconds played in the second, and when Bozak's easy score from the slot made it 3-0 at 6:53, Garon was yanked for Lindback.
Kulemin welcomed Lindback to the game 29 seconds later on a wrister from between the circles and the four-goal margin stood at intermission.
"We didn't get the start we wanted, and we need to find a way to come out stronger," Lightning forward Steven Stamkos said. "For the most part, it looked like they wanted it more."
The Leafs have won five of the last six meetings with the Lightning since the start of last season ... Prior to the game, the Leafs announced that they placed defenseman Mike Komisarek on waivers, and that Komisarek has waived his no-movement clause ... Toronto also recalled defenseman Jake Gardiner from its AHL affiliate, where he played since Jan. 25 ... Tampa Bay inked its 2012 first-round pick, defenseman Slater Koekkoek, to a three-year, entry-level contract ... Gudas' goal was his first in the NHL.