Ritola scores twice as Lightning rout Leafs 6-2
Monday, March 14, 2011; 10:08 PM
TORONTO -- Mattias Ritola scored twice, Dwayne Roloson made 30 saves and the Tampa Bay Lightning dealt a blow to Toronto's playoff hopes with a 6-2 rout of the Maple Leafs on Monday night.
Nate Thompson had a goal and an assist, and Vincent Lecavalier, Dominic Moore and Mike Lundin also scored as Tampa Bay kept Toronto six points back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Teddy Purcell picked up three assists and Martin St. Louis and Brett Clark added two each for the Lightning.
Dion Phaneuf and Nikolai Kulemin scored for Toronto.
Ritola, a fourth-round pick of Detroit in 2005, doubled his goal total for the season with two quick strikes 3 minutes apart in the second period to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead.
Ritola banged a rebound out of the air at 9:25 before snapping a quick shot past James Reimer at 12:34. A healthy scratch two games ago, Ritola now has four goals on the season.
After the Leafs cut the deficit to 3-2 with 5:23 left in the second period, Tampa Bay restored its two-goal advantage. Reimer got a piece of a Simon Gagne shot, but Lecavalier pushed the puck over the goal-line to deflate the Air Canada Centre crowd.
The Leafs trailed 4-2 entering the third and had a few chances to get closer, but Tampa Bay put it out of reach when St. Louis threw the puck in front and Moore banged it past Reimer. That ended the rough night for the rookie goalie, who was replaced by Jean-Sebastien Giguere after allowing five goals on 29 shots.
Lundin made it 6-2 when he scored his first of the season from the point with just 5 minutes left on a shot that Giguere should have handled. Toronto was continually frustrated trying to close the gap, and Leafs sniper Phil Kessel slammed his stick in frustration after an offside.
The 41-year-old Roloson is 3-0-0 against the Leafs this season and holds and impressive 6-1-0 record versus Toronto since the 2008-09 season.
Buffalo and the New York Rangers sit tied for seventh in the East, four points up on ninth-place Carolina and six up on the Leafs. The Hurricanes visit Buffalo on Tuesday before hosting Toronto on Wednesday. The Maple Leafs then visit Florida on Thursday before coming home for a Saturday night game with the Boston Bruins.
Kulemin got the Leafs back to within a goal at 3-2 late in the second when he blocked a Victor Hedman shot and skated down the wing on a 2-on-1 and beat Roloson.
The Leafs tied the game 1-1 at 5:11 of the second. Tim Brent lugged the puck up the ice before chipping it to the high slot for Phaneuf, whose quick shot beat a surprised Roloson.
Thompson opened the scoring at 9:53 of the first, taking a pass from Teddy Purcell in the slot and snapping a quick shot over Reimer's glove.
Notes: Brent was back in the Toronto lineup sporting a visor after taking a stick in the eye against Buffalo on Saturday night. Brent says he will continue to wear a visor going forward. ... The Leafs recalled D Matt Lashoff from Toronto of the AHL as insurance on the blue line. Lashoff must clear re-entry waivers before joining the team. ... Scratched for Toronto were LW Jay Rosehill and G Jonas Gustavsson. ... D Randy Jones, RW Steve Downie, D Pavel Kubina and D Matt Smaby missed out for the Lightning. ... Toronto finished 0 for 3 on the power play, while Tampa Bay finished without a man-advantage chance.