Cory Cross dreamt about scoring a goal like this.
"I thought about it today, but I didn't think it would happen," Cross said. "It would be very nice to get the winner, but the way I play, there's not much chance of that happening. I was lucky enough it did."
"That goal shouldn't go in. It's a 2-2 game, it's an awful goal that wins the game for them," Tampa Bay coach Steve Ludzik said.
"It was a good shot, but it should have been a routine save," Cloutier said.
Cross' second goal of the season snapped a 22-game goal-scoring drought.
"I'm sure he ranked that goal up there pretty good," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "It's nice for him, the style of game he plays just to get a goal. To have it happen against the team you played for, it's probably special and turns out to be a winner too."
The Maple Leafs acquired Cross and a 2001 seventh-round draft pick from Tampa Bay for Fredrik Modin last October.
Garry Valk added an insurance goal with three minutes left as Toronto won its fourth straight game. The Maple Leafs have also won eight straight against the Lightning, who have dropped three consecutive games.
Sergei Berezin had a goal and two assists for Toronto.
Tampa Bay wing Stephane Richer returned after missing 15 games with a strained oblique muscle and scored his 399th career goal in the second period.
The Lightning had the better scoring chances through two periods, but the play of Toronto backup goalie Glenn Healy kept the game tied 2-2 after 40 minutes.
"Glenn kept it close, especially in that second period," Quinn said. "In that second period, we were just awful giving up outnumbered attacks. He made a couple brilliant saves. It was quite a game for him."
Healy robbed Mike Sillinger with a glove save on a second-period breakaway, and made a diving stop on Richer during a 2-on-1 break.
Toronto's Mike Johnson scored in the first period on the power play. It was Johnson's seventh goal in eight games against Tampa Bay.
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