NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Tampa Bay
(Saturday, December 30th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 3, Montreal 1
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Vinnie Prospal's second-period goal, his first since November, was the game-winner as the Tampa Bay Lightning struck down the Montreal Canadiens, 3-1, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Dan Boyle registered a pair of assists, Brad Richards collected a goal and one helper, and Filip Kuba tallied for the Lightning, who snapped a two-game losing streak, and have now won four of their last six games.
Johan Holmqvist had an easy night, requiring only 12 saves to pick up his 10th win of the season.
Alexander Perezhogin scored the only goal for the Canadiens, losers in three of their last four games including two straight in Florida after falling to the Panthers, 3-1, on Friday night.
Cristobal Huet turned in a spectacular performance, making 38 saves despite the loss.
Prospal provided the Bolts with a 2-1 advantage at the seven minute mark of the second period, when his backhand centering feed from the right of the net found some open space and trickled through Huet.
"There's ups and downs in your career but this has been going on kind of long," Prospal said. "I was getting a lot of ice time, getting the chances, but there were times I was wondering if I was ever going to score again."
Tampa gained a 3-1 lead at 7:07 of the third with their second power play goal of the night. Kuba picked up his sixth of the season off a blast from the left point, after Boyle's initial right point shot was blocked in the slot and rebounded right to the open defenseman.
Montreal's only quality chance to draw within a goal was stopped in spectacular fashion by Holmqvist, as he dove face-first to smother a Guillaume Latendresse shot from the edge of the crease with 20 seconds left in the game.
"Well, obviously when you play a game like this you want to have a chance to get back at them," said Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau. "I don't know what it is, usually we're going to come hard, we need those points. We just didn't respond, I don't know if it's that we're tired or just not prepared to battle."
Richards picked up the first goal of the night at 11:28 on the power play, stashing home the rebound of Boyle's point drive. Martin St. Louis won a faceoff and pushed it back to the powerful defenseman, and Richards followed up from the right side for his 14th of the year.
It was the only dent in Huet's armor during the opening 20 minutes, as the NHL's save percentage leader stopped 22-of-23 shots to keep the Canadiens down by one goal.
Perezhogin would tie the game at 2:07 of the second, blasting a shot over Holmqvist's shoulder, and hitting the net right under the point where the crossbar meets the post.
Shots on goal were 41-13 for the game in favor of the Lightning...It was Tampa's first win in three tries over Montreal this season, but the Canadiens have won five of the last seven over the Bolts...The Canadiens finished 1-3-0 on their four-game road swing...Tampa's 23-shot first period was the second- most shots in one period in team history, and the 20-shot margin was the largest in team history...The 13 shots against tied for second-fewest in franchise history, and were the fewest shots allowed by Tampa at home.
12/31 00:04:49 ET