TORONTO (AP)—Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice’s tirade during a timeout worked.
Chad Kilger scored twice and Alex Ponikarovsky also scored for the Maple Leafs, who used their timeout after falling behind 3-1 early in the second.
Maurice declined to say what he said to his team.
“None of it’s printable. Sometimes you don’t have to be coherent as long as it’s loud enough and profane enough,” Maurice said.
Michael Peca said Maurice got them going.
“Paul can be the happiest guy in the world and it will be X-rated, but he said the right things that guys needed to hear,” Peca said. “He told us to stick with it, finish checks and don’t allow yourself to get outworked. He rallied us and we came on pretty hard.”
Toronto captain Mats Sundin, who struggled during the skid, threw the puck on net before Tucker tipped it in for his 18th goal of the season and 13th on the power play, tying Ottawa’s Marian Hossa for the league lead in power-play goals.
“We didn’t have a good start to the second. We called a timeout and it rallied everybody,” Tucker said. “I’m not going to tell you what he said. You can figure it out.”
O’Neill made it 5-3 by scoring on a rebound at 10:55 of the third.
Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis cut it to 5-4 on the power play at 16:16 and the Lightning emptied their net in favor of an extra attacker with 1:45 left, but Toronto held on.
“We were in control of the game, but then we lost control of it,” St. Louis said. “They got the momentum. It’s a tough way to lose.”
Toronto looked good early as Ponikarovsky scored a power-play goal from the side of the net at 3:28 of the first.
But Alexeev tied it at 1 at 7:32 of the first by beating Aubin glove side with a wrist shot.
After Peca received a boarding penalty, Lecavalier’s one-timer on the power play easily beat Aubin at 12:29 of the first.
Maurice changed things up after Toronto defenseman Bryan McCabe turned the puck over behind the net, and St. Louis made a pass from behind the net to Richards, who scored on a one-timer just 24 seconds into the second.
Maurice then brought in Raycroft, who was benched after losing all seven of Toronto’s games during the slump. Aubin allowed three goals on nine shots.
Kilger cut it to 3-2 at 12:55 by tapping a rebound past a sprawled Johan Holmqvist.
Toronto tied it at 3 with 30 seconds left in the second after Pavel Kubina made a long pass from the boards in his own end to Peca, who skated in with Kilger on a 2-on-none. Peca passed to Kilger, who tied it with his second goal of the game.
The Maple Leafs’ franchise record is a 10-game losing streak set from Jan. 15-Feb. 8, 1967—the year they last won the Stanley Cup. … Former coach Pat Burns and seventeen players from Toronto’s 1992-93 team that came within one win of going to the Stanley Cup attended the game. “I said on the phone call that nobody is allowed to come back if they’re over 200 pounds,” retired forward Wendel Clark joked.