MONTREAL-- Center Steven Stamkos recorded his 66th career multi-goal game with two goals & goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy 34 of 35 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Saturday night.
The Lightning entered the game 5-0-0 against Eastern Conference teams this year. But the Canadiens took a 1-0 lead 58 seconds into the game when a blind clearing pass inside the Lightning zone by defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was intercepted by Canadiens center Max Domi, who picked the puck off, skated to the center of the zone & snapped a shot past Vasilevskiy, just inside the post.
Montreal used a power play & their speed to take a five to one shots on goal lead inside the first five minutes of the game. But the power play is how Tampa Bay tied the score at one. Stamkos finished off a Lightning barrage of shots just as a two minute penalty to Canadiens forward Nicolas Deslauriers ended, with the Lightning center taking a feed from forward Nikita Kucherov & beating Price, high to his stick side for his third goal of the year.
Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead when Montreal tried clearing their own zone but Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman used his stick to deflect a pass & the puck went right to forward J.T. Miller, who was trailing the play & blasted a wrist shot over Price's glove.
After spotting the shots advantage to the home team in the first five minutes of the game, the Lightning ended the first period with 18 shots on the net. But in the second period, the Canadiens had the first opportunity to go on the power play after forward Mathieu Joseph got caught holding a Canadien player's stick during a scramble near the boards.
Montreal mounted some pressure during their power play but the best scoring opportunity in the first 10 minutes of the period came when Joseph came out of the penalty box & took a pass from forward Yanni Gourde. Joseph came in on a partial breakaway but had a difficult angle as he was being chased by two Montreal players, allowing Price to cut down the angle & make the save.
The second period was scoreless but Montreal had multiple opportunities including a shot by defenseman Noah Juulsen that Vasilevskiy pushed aside & a man advantage after Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn was called for tripping former teammate forward Jonathan Droin.
Leading 2-1 & just under a minute into the final period, Tampa Bay made it a two goal game after Stamkos got his second goal of the game. The Lightning center, off a pass again from Kucherov, ripped a shot high over Price, giving him his fourth goal of the year. And Gourde, who signed a six year extension with the Lightning on Friday, finished the scoring when he stuffed his fifth goal of the year past Price, while standing at the doorstep.
Tampa Bay will look to sweep their brief 2 game road trip when they head to Ottawa to take on the Senators on Sunday. Coverage begins on 970 WFLA at 6:30pm with puck drop at 7pm.
1. MTL- Domi 7th goal (Unassisted)- 0:58
2, TBL- Stamkos 3rd goal (Kucherov)- 13:42
3. TBL- Miller 4th goal (Stralman)- 16:24
1. TBL- Stamkos 4th goal (Kucherov, Stralman)- 0:52
2. TBL- Gourde 5th goal (Point, Stralman)- 15:57
1. TBL- Gourde (Interference 2 min)- 1:58
2. MTL- Deslauriers (Boarding 2 min)- 11:42
1. TBL- Joseph (Holding The Stick 2 min)- 7:45
2. TBL- Coburn (Tripping 2 min)- 17:45
1. MTL- Tatar (Holding 2 min)- 7:28
2. MTL- Droin (Tripping 2 min)- 13:00
3. TBL- Coburn (Interference 2 min)- 16:40