Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Stamkos' 4 points lead Lightning over Maple Leafs

 Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock briefly considered pulling Frederik Andersen in what was ultimately the worst game of his NHL career, a 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Andersen gave up a career-high seven goals on only 24 shots Tuesday night, the third time in his first five starts the 27-year-old has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. Andersen is sporting an unseemly .851 save percentage so far this season.
"I felt like everything just bounced the wrong way and (I) wasn't able to make any saves when we needed to," Andersen said.
Tampa Bay struck for four goals on the first 11 shots, including two by Steven Stamkos who matched a career-high with four points. Still Babcock stuck with his struggling No. 1, whom the Leafs acquired in a summer trade with Anaheim.
"He's my guy, I want him to play," Babcock said after Toronto's fifth loss in six games to start the season. "So I could pull him and then say `OK I showed you!' But what did I show him? To me dig in there with the rest of the guys, make the next save and give us a chance to come back and win the game. You can't do that sitting on the bench."
Andersen arrived in Toronto with considerable pressure, having signed for five years and $25 million. He was instantly crowned the club's undisputed starting goalie, a position he never held over three seasons with the Ducks.
After the latest defeat, which followed a 5-4 shootout loss in Chicago, Andersen said he was still adjusting to a new team and city with infinitely brighter lights and significantly more attention. He was also trying to rediscover a confidence which has eluded him so far this fall, an injury before training camp foreshadowing a rocky October.
"Definitely an adjustment," he said of the move to Toronto from quieter confines in Anaheim. "But you've just got to keep doing what you're doing, don't try to change too much. I think that's something that I've got to be better at, just play my game and then the results should come."
It didn't take long for Tampa Bay to get to Andersen, Stamkos scoring the game's first goal 79 seconds in.
Andrej Sustr intercepted Auston Matthews' failed pass attempt in the Toronto zone and then found Stamkos alone behind the Leafs defense and though the Lightning's captain lost control of the puck, Leafs defensemanMatt Hunwick inadvertently batted it past his own goaltender.
Stamkos re-signed with the Lightning for eight years and $68 million after flirting briefly with the Leafs ahead of the July 1 signing date.
Killorn upped the Tampa lead to 2-0 six minutes after Stamkos scored.
Stamkos whistled a one-timer past Andersen from the top of the faceoff circle. It was second goal of the game for Stamkos and fifth in six games this season.
The seven-goal shelling eclipsed Andersen's previous career-high of six goals, which came last March, against the Maple Leafs.
"You've just got to challenge yourself to work harder," Andersen said of digging out from the early rut. "That's the only thing to get out of it if you aren't feeling like you're being hit with the puck or seeing the puck; you've got to just work harder to see it."
Babcock stressed his faith in Andersen.
"It hasn't gone as good as he would like it to go," Babcock said. "(But) we're very confident in his ability. We did a lot of work in advance to know what he's capable of doing. He's done it for three years straight.
"It's very important that we support him," the coach added. "But he's got to get to work too and do his part."
Toronto outshot Tampa 13-9 in the first but trailed 3-0.
The Lightning scored their fourth goal on only their 11th shot. Stamkos fired a pass into the slot and the deflected puck eventually made its way to Hedman, who tucked in his first goal this season.
In the second period Peter Holland's shot hit Bishop in the mask. The goaltender fell immediately to the ice and lost teeth on the play. He searched the ice with teammate Brian Boyle, who eventually seemed to locate the lost teeth.
Bishop remained in the game, yielding a late period power-play goal to Nylander. The 20-year-old got his fourth goal and eighth point this season. Nylander, who added a third-period assist, has eight goals and 20 points in his last 18 NHL games and at least a point in five of six games this fall.
Kucherov, Namestnikov and Drouin added third-period goals for Tampa, Van Riemsdyk and Matthews both scored just over a minute apart, but the late rally fell short.
Matthews has 10 points in his first six NHL games, vaulting into first place in the NHL in scoring.
UP NEXT:
Lightning: play at Montreal on Thursday.
Maple Leafs: host Florida on Thursday.

Flyers rally from 3-goal hole in 3rd to top Sabres 4-3

Travis Konecny had a reason to smile as he held a souvenir puck.
His first career NHL goal snapped the Flyers from lethargic to lively and gave Konecny a good reason to call home.
"My mom's probably going to cry on the phone," he said.
Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek scored shootout goals to cap a fantastic Philadelphia Flyers rally in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
Trailing 3-1, Brayden Schenn and Mark Streit scored power-play goals in the final 3 minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime.
Buffalo's Dmitry Kulikov was whistled for charging when he wiped out Jake Voracek late in the game to start a scrum between the two teams. Schenn quickly followed with a power-play goal with 2:52 left to make it 3-2. Streit scored with 1:51 left in regulation when he knocked in the puck on the fourth rebound past a stunned Anders Nilsson.
Voracek returned after a spell on the bench and his presence gave a boost to the Flyers.
"He's a tough guy. Don't tell him I said that," Giroux said.
Konecny scored early in the third period for the Flyers. Matt Moulson scored two goals for the Sabres.
Moulson scored both goals in a three-goal second period that chased Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth. Neuvirth allowed three goals on 17 shots and was pulled from net for his second straight start.
The Flyers were listless in their third game in four nights and were soundly booed off the ice at the end of the second.
Those jeers turned to cheers by the time Voracek knocked in Philly's second shootout goal.
Moulson had his first two-goal game since Dec. 11, 2014 against Calgary and has four goals this season. He had eight in 81 games last season.
The Sabres had the last four days off and were clearly sharper early than the Flyers. The Flyers had 10 giveaways through the first two periods and Giroux's boarding penalty early in the second sparked Buffalo to two straight goals.
"We played some bad hockey today," Giroux said. "We know we're a better team than this. Our work ethic kind of got us in the game."
Tyler Ennis opened the scoring 2:06 into the second when the puck appeared to deflect off Streit's right leg.
Battling for the puck behind the net, Giroux plowed his left shoulder into Zemgus Girgensons and sent the center face-first into the boards. With Giroux in the box, the Sabres capitalized on the man advantage. Moulson's power-play past Neuvirth made it 2-0 and started the boos at the Wells Fargo Center.
Moulson's second power-play goal of the game - and league-high fourth of the season - sent Neuvirth to the bench. Steve Mason, in a battle for the No. 1 spot, replaced Neuvirth and made a nifty stop later in the period to deny Moulson a hat trick.
Mason stopped eight shots and two more in the shootout.
"Guys have a belief that you get one, more are going to come," Mason said. "TK got us going."
The Flyers got a needed lift in the third when Konecny scored his first career goal. The 19-year-old forward was Philadelphia's first-round pick in the 2015 draft and is one of the hopeful cornerstones for the rebuilding franchise.
"He's been buzzing all season long," Giroux said.
The Sabres lamented a big blown opportunity to earn two points.
"It's on us to be better," Sabres captain Brian Gionta said. "We showed we could take over the game and make something happen. We've got to find a way to go into the third and get a win."
Nilsson, who stopped 49 of 50 shots in two preseason games, was solid until the late collapse in his first start of the season. Robin Lehner didn't make the trip after coming down with an illness on Sunday night. He stopped 38 shots.
"I felt like I saw the puck well and I felt like I made some good saves," Nilsson said.
Notes: Flyers D Radko Gudas returned from a six-game suspension for his head shot in a preseason game. ... Sabres F Evander Kane remained sidelined with cracked ribs. "It's more of a pain and discomfort than anything at this point in time. He should be able to start moving here shortly, not crazily, but he should be able to start moving shortly here and kind of go from there," coach Dan Bylsma said.