Auston Matthews scored in the second quarter as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 on Tuesday.
Other goals for Toronto were scored by Michael Bunting, Pierre Engvall and William Nylander (20-7-6), while Matt Murray made 18 saves. Engvall and Nylander, who also provided assists, scored late into the empty net.
Vladislav Namestnikov responded for Tampa (20-10-1), which saw their five-game winning streak come to an end. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 shots for Yıldırım, who lost only the fourth time in his last 17 games (13-4-0).
Toronto led Lightning 3-2 in the teams’ first-round playoff series last spring, but survived the double overtime of Game 6 at home before Tampa took the doubler at Scotiabank Arena.
The two-time defending champion Lightning would eventually go all the way to the third consecutive Stanley Cup Final before relegated to the Colorado Avalanche.
After losing 4-3 in overtime at Tampa on December 3, Toronto opened Tuesday’s score at 16:45 in the first period when Bunting took a pass from William Nylander and passed Vasilevskiy’s blocker to score his eighth goal of the season.
Lightning netminder was sharp before on a Matthews break and made several saves in a delayed penalty just before the break.
WATCH | Matthews prevailed as the Leafs beat Lightning:
But it got better when Matthews fired a screened Vasilevskiy upstairs with a power play at 61 seconds of the mid period.
With the Leafs trailing Tampa from 29-8 to 40 minutes, Murray had almost nothing to do, while Vasilevskiy held the fort on the other end – including leaving John Tavares behind in a breakup before the Toronto captain’s real estate ran out tight.
Vasilevskiy then stopped Zach Aston-Reese in the doorway with three minutes into the third, bringing home his own rebound before Namestnikov won the offensive zone for the second of the campaign at 4:09.
Pontus Holmberg came close to restoring Toronto’s two-goal lead a few minutes later, but hit the post earlier.
Murray and Leafs were late as Lightning pushed, before Engvall flipped him into an empty net with his sixth inning, followed by Nylander’s empty nets with 32 seconds left in the game. This was Nylander’s 19th goal of the season.
The Leafs announced that Vittorio Panza, grandfather of defender Victor Mete, was one of five people killed by gunfire over the weekend in Vaughan, Ont., before the puck dropped.
Panza’s partner was also killed by a semi-automatic pistol shooter.
Toronto and Tampa Bay held a minute’s silence for the victims before the game.
At this most difficult time, our hearts go out to the victims’ families and the Vaughan community. pic.twitter.com/1tJWf36tVA
Leafs defender Rasmus Sandin (neck) left in the second period after assisting Matthews’ goal and did not return.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is three goals short of the 500 in his career.
32-year-old from Markham, Ont. – Named #1 overall by Tampa in the 2008 auditions – Wants to be the 47th player to reach a milestone in NHL history.
Lightning visited the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. The Leafs will host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.