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Lightning beats Toronto for second win in as many nights

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Vlad Namestnikov could have gone farther with the winning goal.

For instance, he could have started in Buffalo.

As it was, the length of the ice in Toronto was far enough. Halfway into the three-on-three overtime period, Namestnikov took the puck coast-to-coast to score and pull out a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Namestnikov led a night of lesser-known names filling the net for the Bolts. Besides Nikita Kucherov, goals were scored by Anton Stralman, Jonathan Marchessault, Mike Blunden and then Namestnikov. The Bolts trailed 3-1 in the game until their comeback.

The game was about one star, however. Reporters filled the arena to talk to Captain Steven Stamkos, whose contract is up at the end of the year. Toronto is Stamkos’ hometown, and speculation is that is where he would end up if he doesn’t re-sign with Tampa Bay.

“It hasn’t been that bad,” Stamkos said. “It’s more of a story for you guys. Time’s going to tell. Everything will figure itself out.

“Obviously, I have high standards. I’m not where I want to be.”

Stamkos has not scored in 10 games.

“I coach the team, not the contracts,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

For the Lightning, it was the second win in two nights and improved the team’s record to 16-13-3.

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

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