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NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Tampa Bay



(Wednesday, December 28th)

Final Score: Montreal 4, Tampa Bay 3

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Pierre Dagenais scored the tie-breaking goal in the third period and Jose Theodore was outstanding in his return to the Montreal lineup as the Canadiens earned a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay at St. Pete Times Forum.

Theodore, who hadn't played since December 15 because of a sore knee, stopped 41 of 44 shots to help the Canadiens put an end to a nine-game road losing streak.

Alex Kovalev recorded two assists, while Sheldon Souray and Richard Zednik each had power-play goals in the win, just Montreal's second in six games overall.

"It's a hell of a team win and I hope it's going to put us back on track," said Dagenais. "I think if we play like that, the way (the team) played tonight, we've got a chance to beat everybody in the league."

Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Craig and Pavel Kubina all scored for the Lightning, who have dropped five of their last six.

Dagenais blasted a shot from the right point past John Grahame seconds after a Canadiens' faceoff win to break a 3-3 deadlock with 11:26 remaining.

Tampa Bay, which finished 0-of-5 on the power play, had two extra-skater opportunities following Dagenais' tally, including a brief 5-on-3. Theodore was up to the task, however, and made 15 saves over the last 20 minutes to keep the Lightning at bay.

"I felt we did some really good things," said Tampa Bay head coach John Tortorella. "I thought our counters were good tonight. We end up with 18 scoring chances to 10 (for Montreal). We can't have four goals go in our net on 10 chances. Especially the fourth goal."

Grahame finished with just 20 saves.

Zednik gave Montreal a 3-2 edge with a re-direction of a Mark Streit shot less than two minutes into the final period. Tampa Bay would draw even just over two minutes later when Kubina poked in a rebound.

Kovalev whirled behind the net and fed Jan Bulis for a one-timer 5:30 into the contest to give the Canadiens an early advantage. Theodore helped keep it a one-goal game with 13 stops in the first period, including a diving pad save of Martin St. Louis in close with the Lightning on the power play.

Souray ripped the puck through a screened Grahame on a 5-on-3 with 3:39 elapsed in the second period to make it a 2-0 game. Tampa Bay, however, would score twice before the intermission to knot the score.

Lecavalier beat Theodore on a breakaway at the 13:17 mark, and Craig scored after Theodore stopped Tim Taylor's wraparound try with 1:02 remaining in the session.

Game Notes

Taylor and Rob DiMaio each had two assists for Tampa Bay...The Lightning's Vaclav Prospal extended his point streak to six games with an assist on Lecavalier's marker...Montreal's last road win came at Buffalo on November 4 and was one loss shy of matching a team-record for consecutive road defeats, set in 1926...The Canadiens went 2-for-6 on the power play...Montreal won the only other meeting between the clubs this year, a 3-2 decision on November 8.

12/28 23:14:59 ET


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