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NHL Hockey

Lightning erase 3-goal deficit, rally past Maple Leafs 4-3

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

By ERIK ERLENDSSON

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) 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.

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.

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."

NOTES: Tampa Bay activated LW Ondrej Palat off injured reserve after he missed 26 games with an ankle injury. ... It was the 600th NHL game for van Riemsdyk. ... Toronto C Auston Matthews missed his 10th consecutive game with a shoulder injury but is expected to return later this week. ... Lightning RW Adam Erne got his first career assist in his 46th game. His first six career points were all goals. ... Kucherov tied Fredrik Modin for fifth all-time in goals for the Lightning with 145.

UP NEXT

Lightning: At the New York Islanders on Thursday.

Maple Leafs: At the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

---

More AP hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

Updated March 21, 2018

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