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Long Night For Leafs

Monday, 14.03.2011 / 11:03 PM / Features
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Long Night For Leafs
Matt Iaboni
March 14, 2011
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, ON
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FINAL P1 P2 P3 OT SO T
1 3 2 0 0 6
0 2 0 0 0 2

Dion Phaneuf tied the game early in the second period but the Leafs' hopes of picking up the win were dashed shortly after.

Little used Lightning forward Mattias Ritola had two goals 3:09 apart in the second period that put Tampa Bay up 3-1. The Leafs got closer on a Nikolai Kulemin goal but Vincent Lecavalier scored with just over a minute to go in the period for the back breaker. It was his 19th goal in his 45th career game against the Maple Leafs.

4 Leafs to have 50 points on the season.
-3 Rating for four Leafs (Schenn, Gunnarsson, Bozak and Lupul).
0-3-1 Leafs' record against Tampa Bay this season.
16/5 Goals for/against for Tampa vs. Leafs this season..
0 Power-play chances for the Lightning on the night..
1st Star
Mattias Ritola
G A P +/- Shots
2 0 2 +2 6
2nd Star
Teddy Purcell
G A P +/- Shots
0 3 3 +3 1
3rd Star
Nate Thompson
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +3 4
Caption This

It wasn't so much one player as it was the line of Nate Thompson, Mattias Ritola and Teddy Purcell that was the difference. Coming into the game, Ritola had two goals and hadn't scored in 12 games.

Thompson tied his season high with two points. This season he has set career highs in goals, assists and points. Purcell recorded three assists for the second time this season. The line had three goals, four assists, seven points and was a plus nine on the night.

Nikolai Kulemin was one of the better Maple Leafs Monday. It was a long night for the Blue and White but the winger continued to add to his break out season scoring his 26th goal of the season.

Although he finished the night minus one, Kulemin had three hits, two shots and one huge blocked shot that led to his goal. With his goal he became the fourth Leaf to hit the 50 point plateau. He is just three points back of the team points lead from Mikhail Grabovski.



The Maple Leafs have gotten into a bad habit recently of allowing the opening goal. When Nate Thompson put Tampa Bay ahead in the first, it was the seventh straight game that the opposition has scored first.

While the Leafs' record is 3-3-1 during the seven games, coming from behind is not easy against teams like Tampa Bay, Chicago and Philadelphia. Despite the three wins, it has cost the Leafs several games down the stretch and is something that needs to be fixed.

Ron Wilson on coping with two losses on the night:
 
"We're going to have to find a way to regroup and bounce back. You know, we lose Colby Armstrong for probably the rest of the regular season and he's played really well for us. All you have to do is look at our record when he's in the lineup to understand that ... it's unfortunately been one of those years for him breaking things, the mysterious eye ailment and stuff like that."



Wednesday, March 16 @ Carolina Hurricanes
7 PM ET (TSN, AM640)

Game Notes:
The Maple Leafs play the first of a back-to-back when they face the Hurricanes for the fourth and final time this season. So far the Leafs are 1-2 against the Hurricanes.

Carolina faces the Sabres Tuesday in Buffalo. This is a big game for the Leafs as they currently sit two points behind the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference.



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