TAMPA, Fla. – The Toronto Maple Leafs are not showing the effort needed to snap out of their slide.
Steven Stamkos scored two goals, Dan Ellis had his second shutout of the season and the Tampa Bay Lightning handed the Maple Leafs their sixth straight loss with a 4-0 victory Tuesday night.
“You’ve got to play 60 minutes in this game and I think it was obvious that we weren’t ready to start,” said Toronto goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 21 saves. “In the situation we’re in, you need to see some desperation out of the guys, some competitiveness, and we’re not seeing that.”
Toronto went 0 for 5 on the power play, including a 48-second 5-on-3 advantage early in the first that resulted in no shots. The Maple Leafs have scored twice in their last 24 power-play opportunities.
“This league is about scoring first, so we passed up a great opportunity,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. “You’ve got to find a way to get our power play going because if you don’t score—like a 5-on-3—it’s depressing not to score or even get a scoring chance.”
The slumping Maple Leafs (5-6-3) opened the season with four wins for the first time since 1993-94. Toronto has been outscored 19-8—including being shutout three times—during the six-game skid.
Stamkos scored the first goal of the game during the first and extended the Lightning’s advantage to 4-0 with his 13th goal this season with 14:14 remaining in the third. Ellis stopped 28 shots, including a pair of in-close chances by Tyler Bozak with just under two minutes to play in the second.
“We killed off that 5-on-3 and that was a huge momentum burst for us,” Ellis said.
Nate Thompson and Dominic Moore also scored for the Lightning, who stopped a three-game losing skid.
Stamkos put the Lightning up 1-0 on his sixth power-play goal of the season at 11:10 of the first. Thompson made it 2-0 just 29 seconds later by stopping a personal 35-game goal drought, dating back to Feb. 13 against the New York Islanders.
Tampa Bay went ahead 3-0 when Moore scored with 46.2 seconds left in the first. He returned after missing the previous five games with a groin injury.
Stamkos has six goals and 13 points in nine games overall against Toronto. The centre has a point in 12 of Tampa Bay’s 14 games this season.
“Things are just going my way right now,” Stamkos said. “It feels really nice to help this team win. I’m just going to keep shooting the puck and going to the net.”
Stamkos tied Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals last season with 51.
NOTES: Wilson, with 587 wins, remains one victory away from tying Jacques Lemaire for seventh place on the NHL career list. … Tampa Bay RW Steve Downie was a late scratch due to a bad back. … Toronto LW Nikolai Kulemin had a streak of scoring a goal in three consecutive games end. … Lightning LW Simon Gagne is undergoing tests for a neck injury which has sidelined him the past eight games.