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Canadian Press
12/12/2006 10:17:23 PM


TORONTO (CP) - Two goals by Chad Kilger wiped out a two-goal deficit and Darcy Tucker supplied the winning goal in a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning that ended the Toronto Maple Leafs' seven-game winless slide Tuesday night.

Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jeff O'Neill also scored for the Leafs, who had been 0-6-1 since a Nov. 24 win, and Andrew Raycroft came off the bench early in the second period to supply solid relief goaltending.

Nikita Alexeev, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis scored for the Lightning.

Ponikarovsky opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 3:28. Tomas Kaberle sent a cross-ice pass into the circle to the left of goaltender Johan Holmqvist and Ponikarovsky fired a low wrist shot for his ninth goal of the season. Doug Janik was in the penalty box for hooking Tucker.

Alexeev tied it with his ninth at 7:32. Lecavalier fed the six-foot-six Russian in the circle to the right of Jean-Sebastien Aubin. The puck entered the net in the top short-side corner as Aubin went into a crouch.

Lecavalier put Tampa Bay up 2-1 with a power-play goal at 12:29. Mike Peca was off for boarding Paul Ranger. Dan Boyle fed a pass into the circle to the left of Aubin and Lecavalier banged in a slap shot for his 18th goal. The puck eluded Aubin on his stick side. It was a shot many goalies would have stopped.

It wasn't looking good for the Leafs: Tampa Bay entered the game 7-1-0 when leading after one period, and Toronto was 0-7-1 when trailing after one.

Richards made it 3-1 with his 12th goal just 24 seconds into the second period. Brian McCabe got only a piece of the puck behind his net when he tried to shoot it around the boards and it bounced to St. Louis, who quickly relayed it out front to Richards for a redirect into the top of the net.

Aubin was pulled, and he let coach Paul Maurice know he wasn't happy about it when he got to the bench. He'd allowed three goals on nine shots. Raycroft took over.

Kilger made it 3-2 at 12:55. Holmqvist was sprawled in his crease after stopping a Tucker slap shot when Kilger lifted the rebound into the open side of the net.

Kilger tied it 3-3 at 19:31 when he pushed in a Mike Peca pass on a rare 2-on-0 rush for his sixth goal of the season

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It's about time. They still did quite a few dumb things out there, but they got the win.

Hopefully they don't sit on what they got from this game, and they try to get back to where they were before.
 
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