NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Montreal
(Tuesday, January 2nd)
Final Score: Montreal 5, Tampa Bay 2
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Tomas Plekanec scored twice, including the go- ahead tally in the third period, as Montreal beat Tampa Bay, 5-2, at the Bell Centre.
Alexei Kovalev had a goal and two assists, while Saku Koivu and Francis Bouillon each added a pair of helpers for the Canadiens, who have beaten the Lightning in six of the last eight meetings.
Cristobal Huet turned aside 21 shots for Montreal, which snapped a two-game overall skid, but won its fifth in a row at home. This was the finale of a home-and-home series, with the Lightning winning 3-1 Saturday night.
Doug Janik and Filip Kuba scored for the Lightning, who have dropped three of their last four contests. Johan Holmqvist had 22 saves in a losing effort.
"They played a great game," Tampa Bay center Brad Richards said. "They had a surge in the second when they put a lot at us."
Plekanec's second goal of the night came 6:01 into the third period, giving the Canadiens a 3-2 edge. He skated with the puck from behind the net on the right side out in front, flipped a shot on net which was blocked, then managed to push the puck over the goal line with a couple whacks through a mass of bodies in the crease.
"My last goal was put in by their goalie, but I'll take it," Plekanec said. "I've tried to score (over the last 15 games), but I was also trying to feed Sammy (Sergei Samsonov)."
Michael Ryder's goal on a tip-in nearly eight minutes later made it 4-2, and Christopher Higgins added an empty-netter with 19 seconds to go.
"We knew we have to keep scoring more, for sure," Plekanec said. "I hope it's a good start tonight, and we'll keep going. I think I'll get more confidence with tonight's efforts to score more goals."
The Lightning broke on top 9:18 into the opening period after taking advantage of a turnover. Janik's first career NHL goal came on a shot from above the left circle, with the puck squeezing between the pads of Huet.
Plekanec tied it with 2:07 remaining in the period, beating Holmqvist from the edge of the crease.
Kovalev boosted the Canadiens to a 2-1 lead with 4:16 left in the second. The power play tally came on a wrister from the slot that beat Holmqvist high.
However, the Lightning struck just 31 seconds later to even the score. Martin St. Louis passed the puck from behind the net on the right side to a cutting Kuba, who tipped it home from in front.
Tampa Bay went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Montreal was 1-for-3...There were only six penalties called in the game, three to each side...The Canadiens lead the all-time series 26-21-6.
01/02 22:43:52 ET