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Tampa Bay Lightning

Stamkos gets 59th, but Bolts lose again

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 02:35 AM

TORONTO The road woes that plagued the Lightning throughout the season remain a problem to the finish.

Steven Stamkos scored his 59th goal of the season, but Dion Phaneuf scored the game-winner in overtime for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 3-2 victory against Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

The Lightning are 12-22-6 on the road, nearly the opposite of their 25-14-2 home record.

Stamkos is trying to become the NHL’s first 60-goal scorer since Washington’s Alex Ovechkin had 65 in the 2007-08 season, and just the second player to reach that mark in the past 15 years.

He badly wanted to get the job done in his hometown — "Oh yeah, it’d be special," he said before the game — but he heads to Winnipeg instead needing a goal in Tampa’s final game Saturday.

Tim Connolly and Jake Gardiner also had goals for Toronto.

Martin St. Louis added a goal for the Lightning.

Stamkos appeared to be headed for his league-leading 13th game-winner of the season after sneaking behind the Toronto defense and converting a perfect pass from Bruno Gervais at 8:48 of the third period to make it 2-1. But Gardiner tied it up with less than three minutes to play in regulation by banking the puck in off a defender.

Phaneuf’s winner came after Dwayne Roloson stopped a Phil Kessel shot.

There was very little atmosphere for Toronto’s final home game of the season. With the team long out of playoff contention and the Blue Jays’ marathon opener in Cleveland stretching into the Leafs’ game time, there were several clusters of empty seats at Air Canada Centre.

When it was over the Leafs saluted the crowd before skating off the ice here for the last time this season.

St. Louis opened the scoring for Tampa Bay with a shot that caromed off some bodies and past Ben Scrivens 5:49 of the first period. Stamkos was standing at the edge of the crease but he didn’t pick up a point on the play.

It took less than a minute for the Leafs to tie it, with Connolly getting a beautiful pass from Gardiner and having a wide open net to shoot at.

Stamkos truly began establishing his presence during a second period where he was credited with six shots. Scrivens stopped him with a toe save early before getting a blocker on another good shot through traffic.

At the other end, Roloson did his part to keep the game close.

The 42-year-old Lightning goaltender got his glove on a great chance by Tyler Bozak before stretching his leg back to deny Clarke MacArthur on the rush.

Nuts and Bolts

RW Adam Hall returned to the lineup after missing nine games with an undisclosed upper body injury. …The Lightning reassigned F Brandon Segal to the Norfolk Admirals, their affiliate in the American Hockey League. …Admirals D Mark Barberio was named a first-team AHL All-Star and F Cory Conacher a second-team all-star, the AHL announced Thursday.

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