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Maple Leafs rally to beat Lightning in shootout

TAMPA, Florida (AP) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs had some help on

the road.

Down by a goal in the third period, the Maple Leafs, in front of

a supportive crowd of mostly Toronto fans and Canadian tourists,

forced overtime with six minutes left in regulation, and John

Mitchell netted the winner in the shootout for the 4-3 victory

over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

Mitchell, who scored the Maple Leafs' first goal in the second

period, netted his first shootout goal of his career and the

Maple Leafs avoided a four-game, season-series sweep by the

Lightning. Tampa Bay outscored the Maple Leafs 16-10 this season

and had won six straight against them.

"Usually, I kind of deke," Mitchell said of his shootout goal,

"so that time I told myself, 'You know what? I'm going to try

shooting and see how it goes that way.' And It worked out."

Mitchell's deciding goal was scored in the sixth round of the

shootout after Toronto trailed 3-0 in the second period.

"That was a great game," Maple Leafs defenseman Ian White said.

"I know we never said die and kept battling, kept shooting pucks

and then completely dominated that third period."

Jeff Hamilton, who tied it at 3, scored the first shootout goal.

Vincent Lecavalier scored the Lightning's only shootout goal on

a deke past Curtis Joseph to force the extra rounds.

Mitchell won it with a low shot past the right skate of goalie

Karri Ramo.

The Lightning went ahead 3-0 on a power-play tally by

Lecavalier, who has a team-high 29 goals.

Steven Stamkos and Matt Pettinger added a pair of goals only 10

seconds apart, matching the Lightning's second fastest two goals

at home.

"We go up 3-0 and lose the game," said Stamkos, the No. 1

overall pick in last year's draft. "That's totally unacceptable.

We can't afford to do that. They got the two points, and we were

able to salvage one, if you want to look at that as a positive."

Jason Blake scored the second goal for the Maple Leafs four

minutes into the third. Each time Toronto scored, the arena was

filled with chants of "Go Leafs Go."

"That was unbelievable. It was actually sometimes louder than it

is at the (Air Canada Centre)," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said,

referring to the Maple Leafs' home arena.

"A Tuesday night in Tampa (and) it seems like we had the home

fans for the majority, which gave us a little extra boost,"

White said.

This was the second straight game decided by a shootout for the

Lightning. Tampa Bay beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Saturday.

Ramo, who had 36 saves, stopped Lee Stempniak, Mikhail

Grabovski, Blake and Nikolai Kulemin in the shootout. Joseph,

who had 19 saves, stopped Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Ryan

Malone, Vaclav Prospal and Evgeny Artyukhin in the tiebreaker.

In just his eighth start, the 41-year-old Joseph has come

through recently and his efforts have been noticed.



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