Lightning get 61st win, defeat Maple Leafs to move one from record
The Tampa Bay Lightning became the second team in NHL history to win 61 games in a season when they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday.
The Lightning (61-16-4) are one win from matching the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most wins in NHL history (62-13-7). Tampa Bay plays its regular-season finale at the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
“We’re not really talking about those records much, but it’s a sign that we’re consistent with our game, which we obviously want to be,” Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “We take a lot of pride in being competitive and not allowing losses to snowball into something bigger, so it’s good we can have a quick response after losses this year and get back on the winning page.”
Mitchell Marner scored, and Frederik Andersen made 26 saves for the Maple Leafs (46-28-7), who will finish third in the Atlantic Division, behind the Lightning and Bruins.
“I thought we played well,” Marner said. “We didn’t make many mistakes, but again, we have to stop making any mistakes because people are scoring on them. We have to clean some things up, but I thought our team played well together tonight.”
They said it
“He was playing great on both sides, he does it all the time for us, but even more tonight playing in his hometown, he just was a driving force for us as far as getting momentum on our side again, getting us back in the game and making a great play on the game-winning goal. It’s great to see him playing with confidence on both sides of the ice.” — Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh on Steven Stamkos
“The timing is always off a little bit, whether to stand up on the play or to get back, but it was a lot easier transition than I expected. For sure there is a lot of relief that I was able to play. I think it would have been tough to go into Boston (for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs) not having played a game, so I’m glad I was able to do this and then play again on Saturday.” — Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner, who played 16:51 after missing 18 games with a back injury
Need to know
Kucherov is one point from tying Alexander Mogilny for the most points by a Russia-born player in an NHL season. Mogilny had 127 in 1992-93 for the Buffalo Sabres. … Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri (maintenance) and defenseman Jake Muzzin (illness) were scratched. Coach Mike Babcock said they will not play Saturday but will be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs.