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Lightning beat Bernier five times in goaltender's return to Maple Leafs

TORONTO — Jonathan Bernier gave up more than four goals for the fifth straight start, and the Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender remains winless on the season.

Bernier gave up two in quick succession and then one to Vladislav Namestnikov in overtime as the Leafs lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre.

In his return from a conditioning assignment with the Marlies of the American Hockey League, Bernier allowed five goals on 27 shots to drop to 0-8-2.

Namestnikov scored 2:01 into the three-on-three overtime period. Nikita Kucherov, Anton Stralman, Mike Blunden and Jonathan Marchessault had Tampa Bay's goals in regulation.

Tyler Bozak, James van Riemsdyk, Morgan Rielly and Daniel Winnik scored for the Leafs (10-13-6), who hadn't played in a week since beating the New Jersey Devils.

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed four goals on 37 shots for the Lightning (16-13-3), who were coming off a victory at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

With Steven Stamkos in town in the final year of his contract with the Lightning, there was plenty of buzz about his future, including signs from fans encouraging the nearby Markham, Ont., native to sign with his hometown Leafs as a free agent this summer.

Stamkos didn't register a point but set a screen on Stralman's goal late in the second period that helped spark Tampa Bay's comeback.

From the drop of the puck, the Leafs (10-14-5) played with the energy of a team that hadn't played in a week. Coach Mike Babcock said it felt like three months since his team's last game, but the Leafs took a 16-4 shot advantage in the first period and controlled the play.

First-period goals by Bozak and van Riemsdyk gave the Leafs the lead, and Rielly added another in the second after an important five-on-three penalty kill. While Bernier couldn't be held responsible for Kucherov's back-hander early on, he couldn't stop Stralman's shot with 35.5 seconds remaining in the second period and wasn't at his best in the third.

As the Leafs' defence collapsed in front of him, Bernier was beaten clean by Blunden for his first of the season. Before he got a chance to compose himself, Marchessault put the puck on net from long range and scored through traffic to give the Lightning the lead.

Winnik deflected a shot by Roman Polak past Vasilevskiy 13:28 into the third period to tie it back up and get the Leafs to overtime.

Notes — Defenceman Frankie Corrado made his Leafs debut after being claimed off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks 10 weeks ago. ... Garret Sparks backed up Bernier as James Reimer remains out with a groin injury. ... Forward Yanni Gourde made his NHL debut for the Lightning.


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Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press

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