|Date of game: 11/20/2014
Recap: Toronto vs. Tampa Bay
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Behind a three-goal second period in which James van Riemsdyk scored twice, the Toronto Maple Leafs bounced back strongly with a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Roman Polak added a goal and an assist to help the Maple Leafs halt a three- game skid capped by Tuesday's brutal 9-2 home loss to Nashville. Richard Panik and David Clarkson also tallied and Jonathan Bernier aided Toronto's cause with 26 saves, half of which came during the pivotal second period.
"It was nice for us," said van Riemsdyk. "When things aren't going well for us in this city, I think there is a lot of overanalyzing going on. You've got the most passionate fans in the world here and a lot of (media) coverage, so you know there's going to be a lot of people giving their two cents worth on us."
Ben Bishop stopped just 16-of-20 shots as the Lightning wrapped up a three- game road trip with a second straight defeat. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each had goals in the loss.
The teams were knotted at 1-1 after an evenly played opening period, but the Maple Leafs capitalized on several Tampa Bay miscues to dominate the second.
Panik, who spent the previous two seasons with the Lightning, netted the tie- breaker with 2:45 elapsed in the frame, depositing a backhander into an opening after Tampa Bay's Matt Carle gave up the puck deep in his team's end.
Van Riemsdyk then scored twice within a span of under three minutes later on to put the game out of reach.
His first came on an odd-man rush with 7:29 left in the session after the Leafs won a battle for the puck near center ice. The second was recorded on a Toronto power play, with an uncovered van Riemsdyk knocking in the rebound of Phil Kessel's initial attempt.
"We have made some costly mistakes the last couple of games for whatever reason," Stamkos said. "It's not the way we played in the first 18 games."
The Lightning continued to have their offense shut down for most of the final period, though Stamkos provided a brief spark by taking in a centering pass from Nikita Kucherov and beating Bernier on a second-chance attempt with 4:13 to play.
Tampa Bay made one last push in the waning stages but came up empty, with Polak sealing the result with an empty-netter from the length of the ice with 7.4 seconds showing.
The Maple Leafs got the first period off to a strong start as well. Daniel Winnik beat the Lightning's Eric Brewer to a puck sent into the Tampa Bay zone and sent a backhand feed that a trailing Clarkson one-timed home just 1:29 into the contest.
Toronto had a great opportunity to increase the lead with an extended power- play that included a brief 5-on-3 late in the opening period. However, Tampa Bay instead drew even when Killorn intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and fired a well-placed wrister past a screened Bernier for his first career short-handed goal.Game Notes
The Maple Leafs improved to 7-0-0 this season when scoring first ... Bishop
came into the game 8-1-1 with a 1.72 goals-against average over his last 10
starts ... Forward Brett Connolly returned to the Lightning lineup after
missing 12 straight games with a leg injury, but teammate Cedric Paquette was
scratched after sustaining a lower-body injury Tuesday against the Islanders.