NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Montreal
(Thursday, December 14th)
Final Score: Montreal 4, Tampa Bay 2
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Saku Koivu scored two third period goals, including the game-winner with Montreal down a man, as the Canadiens toppled Tampa Bay, 4-2, at the Bell Centre.
With 6:26 left in regulation and Tampa Bay on the power play, Sheldon Souray's outlet pass found a streaking Alex Kovalev, who skated the puck into Tampa's zone before leaving a drop pass that Koivu rifled past Marc Denis.
The Lightning appeared to even the score the just three minutes later as Eric Perrin crashed the net on his rebound and pushed the puck past Cristobal Huet. However, replays showed that Perrin swatted the puck with his hand and the goal was disallowed.
Tampa Bay then pulled Denis with a minute left to play, but Koivu scored on the empty net to ice the game.
Mark Streit and Maxim Lapierre each scored their first goals of the year, while Sheldon Souray finished with three assists for the Canadiens, who have won three of their last four.
Huet was stellar in net, finishing with 41 saves for Montreal, which won despite getting outshot 43-19.
"It was a real two big points for us," said Koivu. "There were nights when we thought we played well but didn't get the win. But tonight, we didn't deserve those two points."
Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis each scored for the Lightning, who have dropped three straight and seven of their last eight games. Denis ended with just 16 saves.
"It was very frustrating after outshooting them by a wide margin and to dominate a game the way we did," said St. Louis. "It's not about work ethic. We were working hard, but they get the win, we don't. That's the bottom line."
Streit's first goal of the season, a short-handed tally at the 8:29 mark of the first period, gave Montreal the first score of the game.
With Tampa Bay defenseman Dan Boyle skating away from Montreal's zone with the puck, Tomas Plekanec picked Boyle's pocket, resulting in a 2-on-1 for the Canadiens that saw Streit beat Denis to make it 1-0.
The Lightning managed to capitalize on a power play later in the period to even the score. With Tampa set up in the Montreal zone, Ryan Craig made a diving stop on the puck to keep it inside the blue line. Filip Kuba then found Vaclav Prospal down low and he sent the puck into the slot for Richards, who scored on a diving one-timer to make it 1-1 with 6:21 left before the first intermission.
Tampa Bay then took the lead with 1:18 left in the second period on St. Louis' 19th goal of the season. With a delayed penalty called, Vincent Lecavalier's shot from the right circle bounced off of Huet and out to the left circle for St. Louis, who slipped the disc past a diving Huet to make it 2-1.
The goal was reviewed but eventually upheld as the Lightning took the lead into the final session.
Montreal, though, evened the score 6:38 into the third period as LaPierre redirected Michael Komisarek's shot from the point past Denis.
The Canadiens improved to 2-0-1 on their current four-game homestand...Tampa Bay went 1-for-6 on the power play, while Montreal squandered two chances with the man-advantage...It was Koivu's 600th career NHL game, all with Montreal.
12/14 23:32:58 ET