Nikita Kucherov scored a pair of goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 18 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Final matchup on Monday night at Amalie Arena.
Erik Cernak, Yanni Gourde and Steven Stamkos also scored for Tampa Bay.
Starting fast was certainly a point of emphasis for the Lightning in this series and they did exactly that in Game 1.
Cernak raced into the offensive zone and re-directed a pass from Palat past Montreal netminder Carey Price at 6:19 to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.
The Bolts did a great job of keeping the pressure on the Canadiens defense and made it 2-0 at 5:47 of the 2nd period.
Following a shot block of a Barclay Goodrow attempt, his linemate Blake Coleman picked up the loose puck and fired a shot that deflected off of Gourde and in to double the Lightning lead.
Montreal cut into the Tampa Bay lead when defenseman Ben Chiarot's shot from the point pinballed in front and past Vasilevskiy at 17:40, but that was as close as the Canadiens would get.
Tampa Bay re-established the two-goal lead two minutes into the 3rd on another wacky play in front of the net.
Kucherov threw a backhand on net from the right wing and Chiarot tried to glove it down. Instead, the puck popped straight up in the air and then he smacked it in out of mid-air to put the Bolts up 3-1.
Tampa Bay went ahead 4-1 at the 11:25 mark when Brayden Point won a faceoff right back to Kucherov and the Russian winger slid to the middle of the ice and ripped a shot over the glove of Price to put the Lightning up three.
Stamkos added a power play goal with 1:10 left to seal the deal for Tampa Bay.
Price stopped 22 of the 27 shots he saw on the evening.
- Tampa Bay - Cernak - (Palat, Point) - 6:19
- Tampa Bay - Gourde - (Coleman, Goodrow) - 5:47
- Montreal - Chiarot - (Kotkaniemi, Weber) - 17:40
- Tampa Bay - Kucherov - (Sergachev) - 2:00
- Tampa Bay - Kucherov - (Point) - 11:25
- Tampa Bay - PPG - Stamkos - (Kucherov, Point) - 18:50
- Tampa Bay - Goodrow - (Cross Checking) - 15:21
- Montreal - Chiarot - (Roughing) - 19:14
- Montreal - Staal - (Roughing) - 6:30
- Tampa Bay - Cernak - (Roughing) - 6:30
- Tampa Bay - Coleman - (Roughing) - 13:42
- Montreal - Kotkaniemi - (High Sticking) - 15:51
- Montreal - Edmundson - (Roughing) - 17:20
What's Next For The Bolts : The Lightning and Canadiens are back in action on Wednesday night at Amalie Arena for Game 2 of this Stanley Cup Final matchup. Puck drop is slated for 8:00pm with the pregame show starting at 7:00pm on NewsRadio WFLA.
PHOTO : Getty Images