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Bernier keys Maple Leafs' 4-1 win over Lightning

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 6, 2014 at 10:47 pm •  Published: February 6, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Toronto Maple Leafs are tightening the race for second place in the Atlantic Division.

Jonathan Bernier made 33 saves and the Maple Leafs beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 on Thursday night.

The second-place Lightning have a one-point lead over Toronto and Montreal, which beat Vancouver 5-2.

"The last week and a half (has been tough)," said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, whose team has lost four of five. "I don't mind where we are in the standings as of today. We kind of built a bulge in the standings, point-wise, and now we've lost some of it. But in saying that, I rather be where we are right now than where some other teams are."

Mason Raymond, Jay McClement, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak scored for Toronto, which was coming of a 4-1 loss Tuesday night at Florida.

"We needed a response from our effort the other night, and we got it tonight," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "If you don't have goaltending, you don't have a starting point in the NHL. We're not any different than any other hockey club. The goaltender is your last line of defense, and our guys have given us a chance for a better part of this year."

The Maple Leafs are 10-2-1 over their last 13 games.

"We want to finish strong before the (Olympic) break with as many points as possible," Bernier said.

Bernier had a number of strong saves early when Tampa Bay dominated the first half of the first period, and he made a glove save on J.T. Brown during the second.

"It didn't look like we had it early, and once again Bernie was ready to play and kept us in it," McClement said. "Then we were able to get our legs."

Ondrej Palat had the lone goal for Tampa Bay. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop left after two periods with an upper-body injury and was replaced by Cedrick Desjardins, and center Valtteri Filppula also left due to a lower-body injury. Desjardins is filling in for backup Anders Lindback, who is sidelined by a lower-body injury.

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