Hockey Night in Canada


Lightning storm back to edge Leafs in possible playoff preview

Alex Killorn scored the winner midway through the third period, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning scored four unanswered goals — three in the third period — to beat the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on Tuesday.

Tampa scores 4 unanswered goals to erase 3-goal deficit

Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman celebrates his goal in the second period. Hedman opened the scoring for his team en route to a comeback win over Toronto. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Alex Killorn and the Tampa Bay Lightning pulled off a rare comeback to knock off their division rival.

Killorn broke a tie with 10:46 left in the third period and Tampa Bay scored the final four goals to rally for a 4-3 victory over Toronto, stopping the Maple Leafs' four-game winning streak Tuesday night.

Toronto sits comfortably in third in the Atlantic, 12 points ahead of the Florida Panthers and only six points behind Boston. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning rattled off four unanswered goal to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. 1:42

Killorn took a pass from rookie Tony Cirelli and fired in a shot from the slot to put the Lightning ahead after they trailed 3-0 midway through the second.

"In the intermission we just wanted to stick to our game and just thought about how good it would feel to come back and win this game," Killorn said.

The Lightning scored three times in the third as they came back from down three or more goals to win in regulation for the fifth time in franchise history — the first time since defeating the New York Rangers on Dec. 23, 2006.

"The vibe in the room was really good after two [periods]," coach Jon Cooper said. "Everybody thought it was an extremely winnable game and they went out and played a really, really responsible third period."

Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Nikita Kucherov also scored as Tampa Bay reached 50 wins for the second time in team history. Yanni Gourde had two assists for the Atlantic Division leaders, who moved five points ahead of second-place Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

JVR keeps scoring

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves and set a Lightning record with his 41st victory of the season.

James van Riemsdyk scored twice for Toronto, which fell to 28-2-2 when leading after two periods. Fredrik Andersen returned after missing two games with an upper-body injury and stopped 21 shots in the loss.

"We definitely did a lot of good things but obviously we didn't play consistently enough throughout the game," said van Riemsdyk, who has seven goals in the past four games. "They are a really good team and you have to play a full 60 to beat a team like that."

The Lightning played the final two periods without forward Ryan Callahan, who exited at 16:04 of the first after getting tangled up along the boards with Toronto forward Josh Leivo. Callahan left the ice favoring his right arm and shoulder area.

The Maple Leafs built a three-goal lead with the help of two from van Riemsdyk, the first at 15:06 of the first period during a delayed penalty call and his second 1:29 into the second while on a power play. Zach Hyman then took advantage of Tyler Johnson's turnover in the Tampa Bay end before beating Vasilevskiy with a wrist shot at 15:41.

Hedman answered for Tampa Bay with his 13th of the season 59 seconds later to cut into the lead heading to the third period.

The Lightning struck quickly in the third as McDonagh and Kucherov scored 2:08 apart to tie the score 3:32 in.

"There are going to be momentum swings in big games all the time. You just have to stay calm and continue to execute," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "We weren't good enough in the third and we have to be better."


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