RALEIGH, NC - OCTOBER 07: Victor Hedman #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center on October 7, 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Lightning defeated the Hurricanes 5-1. (Photo by Bruce …
Photographer: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
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TORONTO - Joffrey Lupul had a goal and three assists, and the Toronto Maple Leafs killed four early power plays -- including a two-man advantage -- in a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
The Maple Leafs, who own the NHL's worst penalty-killing unit, worked on short-handed situations in practice on Monday, and it paid off.
Carl Gunnarsson, Mikhail Grabovski, Darryl Boyce, Matt Frattin, Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel added goals for Toronto (19-15-5).
Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Pavel Kubina scored for the Lightning (17-18-3).
It was the beginning of an important stretch for the Maple Leafs, who will play nine of 11 at home heading into the All-Star break.
Tampa Bay, 5-1-1 in its previous seven games, took a 1-0 lead when Lecavalier found the puck in traffic and beat Jonas Gustavsson 58 seconds in. But the Lightning were unable to sustain that momentum after getting thwarted on multiple power plays. Lupul and Gunnarsson scored for Toronto before the first period ended.
A wild second period helped seal the Leafs' victory.
Stamkos scored his NHL-leading 27th goal to make it 2-2, but Grabovski and Kubina traded goals in the next 91 seconds, and Boyce put Toronto ahead for good just 17 seconds later that.
Boyce, a fourth-line player, went hard to the net and lifted a shot over Mathieu Garon at 13:43, chasing the Lightning starter in favor of backup Dwayne Roloson.
Roloson didn't fare much better. Frattin made it 5-3 in the final minutes of the second period. Phaneuf and Kessel both converted on third-period power plays, giving Toronto another rout of Tampa Bay. The Leafs beat the Lightning 7-1 on Nov. 22.
The late scoring barrage also made things easier on Gustavsson, who earned the victory in his first start since Dec. 17. He finished with 21 saves.
NOTES: Stamkos has 11 goals and 14 points in his last nine games ... Lightning D Victor Hedman missed his third game because of a concussion. He isn't traveling with the team. ... A tribute to Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson's uncle, Johnny, was played during the first period. The former NHL player died Dec. 27 at age 82.
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