TORONTO – The Tampa Bay Lightning ended a grueling stretch of their season by getting a piece of first place in the Atlantic Division.
Tyler Johnson scored twice and the Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Monday night for their seventh straight victory.
Tampa Bay tied the Florida Panthers for the Atlantic lead at 78 points despite playing its third road game in four nights. The winning streak matches a season high.
“We were able to get that 2-0 lead, but it was a tough one,” captain Steven Stamkos said. “Sometimes you’ve got to win games like this when you have tired legs, and we found a way.”
It was Johnson’s first multi-goal game of the season. He was questionable to even play Monday after taking Kevan Miller’s clearing attempt off his forehead in a 4-1 win at Boston on Sunday. He said he got 11 or 12 stitches above his left eye.
“It all happened pretty quick so I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think (the puck) just broke the visor and the visor cut me,” Johnson said. “I think that’s probably better than getting hit straight with the puck.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves for the Lightning.
Nazem Kadri scored late in the third for Toronto, and Garret Sparks had 26 stops. The Maple Leafs have lost two straight and seven of eight.
“Tampa Bay’s a pretty good team but we hung with them so it was exciting to see the way we played,” said Brooks Laich, who played his first game with Toronto after coming over in a trade with Washington on Sunday.
Johnson opened the scoring at 4:53 of the second period by beating a screened Sparks with a snap shot glove-side from near the top of the faceoff circle.
The Lightning forward made it 2-0 at 15:28 of the middle period by sneaking one past Sparks five-hole from the side of the net for his 11th of the season.
“It’s nice that we can play, not the greatest of games, but still get a win,” Johnson said.
Penguins 6, Coyotes 0
In Pittsburgh, Patric Hornqvist had his first career hat trick, beating goalie Louis Domingue three times as the Penguins made quick work of sinking Arizona.
Rangers 2, Blue Jackets 1
In New York, Derek Stepan’s short-handed goal snapped a tie with 2:48 to play, and the Rangers topped Columbus in Eric Staal’s much-anticipated debut.
Flyers 5, Flames 3
In Philadelphia, Brayden Schenn had his first career hat trick, scoring all three goals in the first two periods and leading the Flyers past Calgary.
Claude Giroux had four assists and Wayne Simmonds scored twice for Philadelphia.
Red Wings 3, Stars 2 (OT)
In Dallas, Pavel Datsyuk scored a power-play goal in overtime and Detroit overcame the Stars for its third straight victory.
Sharks 6, Canadiens 2
In San Jose, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton each had three points to key a dominant performance from the Sharks’ top line, and the hosts whipped Montreal for their sixth victory in the past seven meetings.