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Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos validates decision against Toronto

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Yeah, Steven Stamkos made the right choice, all right.

Stamkos, who declined to move to his home town of Toronto in the off-season and instead signed a seven-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning, scored twice in his return home Tuesday night. The Lightning ran its record to 5-1 with a 7-3 win over the Maple Leafs.

“I’m sure he’s feeling a little better about his contract situation than he was a year ago,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “He’s shooting the puck. When someone of his caliber is shooting the puck, good things are going to happen.”

The Lightning got its first first-period goal of the season as it raced to a 4-0 lead. The Leafs came within 5-3, but Tampa Bay scored two more to close out the victory.

“We wanted to come out strong, and I think that was the first game where we scored in the first period,” Stamkos said. “So it was something we talked about before was getting out to a good start, especially on the road, it’s always important. It definitely set the tone for the game and put us up.”

For the Bolts, Alex Killorn scored his fifth goal of the year and Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov scored their first. Also, Vlad Namestinov and Jonathan Drouin scored.

Goaltender Ben Bishop had 40 saves – the Leafs got off 43 shots – and lost two teeth in taking the win.

The Lightning now travels to Montreal for a Thursday night game against the Canadiens.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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