TAMPA, Fla. â€” The Toronto Maple Leafs quickly rebounded from a one-sided loss.
Morgan Rielly and Matt Martin scored 15 seconds apart during Toronto’s four-goal second period, Frederik Andersen made 33 saves and the Maple Leafs moved into the lead for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0 on Thursday night.
Roman Polak, Connor Brown and James van Riemsdyk also scored for Toronto, which was coming off a 7-2 loss Tuesday night at Florida. The Maple Leafs hold a one-point advantage over Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders.
“A good response,” Martin said. “We played a good first period, and obviously a big second period offensively.”
Toronto has won four of five.
“You’ve got to control your own fate,” Maple Leafs centre Tyler Bozak said.
Tampa Bay, 12-3-3 over its last 18 games, pulled Andrei Vasilevskiy six minutes into the second after he allowed four goals on 15 shots. The goalie had gone 6-0-1 over his previous seven games.
“Missed opportunity for us,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “What was missing was the defending. We’ve been so good of late.”
After Rielly scored 2:24 into the second, Martin made it 3-0 on the next shift. Brown, on the power play, and van Riemsdyk added goals later in the period.
Andersen, who entered winless with a 6.00 goals-against-average in the three losses to Tampa Bay, stopped Brayden Point’s power-play breakaway midway through the second. It was his fourth shutout this season and 10th overall.
Polak had the lone first-period goal, a blue-line shot that went off Vasilevskiy’s shoulder and bounced into the net
“The games are only going to get harder,” Martin said.
Brian Boyle, obtained by Toronto from Tampa Bay on Feb. 27, played against his old team for the first time.
“There’s a lot of great memories here,” Boyle said. “I loved my time here. It was a huge, huge win. There was a lot of emotion.”
NOTES: Tampa Bay played for the fourth straight game without centres Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov and Cedric Paquette, who are all out with lower-body injuries. … Bozak had an assist in his 500th NHL game. … Martin stopped a 24-game goal drought. … Toronto rookie C Auston Matthews has gone pointless in seven straight games. Thirteen Maple Leafs had points Thursday. … Tampa Bay LW Jonathan Drouin has not scored a goal in his last 11 games.
Maple Leafs: Host Chicago on Saturday night with Toronto wearing the uniform of the St. Pats (1919-1927). The team said it’s just the second time since being renamed the Maple Leafs that the St. Pats uniform will be worn.
Lightning: Play the second of three consecutive home games Saturday night against Washington.
Mark Didtler, The Associated Press