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Tampa Bay at Montreal

Canadiens 5, Lightning 2

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens got offense from an unexpected source to end their longest skid -- brief as it was -- of the season.

Tomas Plekanec scored his second goal of the game 6:01 into the third period, sending Montreal to a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

Plekanec, who entered with three goals in 38 games, beat Johan Holmqvist in the second for his first goal in 14 games to tie it at 1. The Czech forward connected again in the third for his second career multigoal game, giving Montreal its second and final lead. He hit the post later in the period.

"Tonight was a good night for me and I hope it's going to keep going for as long as possible," Plekanec said.

Alexei Kovalev, Michael Ryder and Christopher Higgins also scored for the Canadiens, who recovered from losing two straight in regulation for the first time this season.

Cristobal Huet made 21 saves in his fifth straight start for Montreal, which earned only two points in the previous four games (1-3-0).

"There was no panic in this room," said Huet, who made a pad save to deny Vincent Lecavalier on a breakaway before Plekanec's second goal. "We knew we had to get back to a good team work ethic, and it wasn't easy against those guys because they skate very hard and they pressure you all over the ice, but we won the battle."

Defensemen Doug Janik and Filip Kuba scored Tampa Bay's goals. Janik scored his first regular-season goal in the opening period, and Kuba tied it at 2 with his seventh of the season at 16:15 of the second.

"All losses are tough," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "We're in a good spot, 2-2 going into the third period, we have a chance to score and we don't get the lead, which I think is very important on a breakaway, and then we get beat out of the corner and they score their third goal.

"The fourth goal, we ice the puck and it ends up in the back of our net so we still have some work to do on details and trying to find our way to gain consistency here, but we'll look at some tape (Wednesday) and start getting ready for the next game."

Holmqvist stopped 22 shots for Tampa Bay, which has lost three of four following a three-game winning streak.

"It's frustrating, very frustrating. I'm as much at a loss for words as anybody," said Brad Richards, who assisted on Kuba's goal. "I don't have the answer. We've just got to keep trying to get more consistent with our game."

Janik, who scored a playoff goal for Buffalo last season and signed with the Lightning as a free agent in the offseason, got his first goal in his 50th career regular-season game -- including 40 with Tampa Bay this season -- when he beat Huet with a shot from the point 9:18 in.

Plekanec tied it with his fourth goal at 17:53, his first since Nov. 30.

Kovalev gave Montreal a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal 15:44 into the second. The Russian right wing beat Holmqvist with a wrist shot from the deep slot for his 10th of the season.

Kuba drew Tampa Bay even before public address announcer Michel Lacroix had finished giving the scoring details of Kovalev's goal.

The Lightning defenseman slipped behind Montreal counterpart Craig Rivet to take Martin St. Louis' pass from the right corner and beat Huet from the goalmouth at 16:15, quieting the sellout crowd of 21,273 by tying it at 2 just 31 seconds after Kovalev scored.

After Plekanec got his second of the game to put the Canadiens ahead for good, Ryder added his 11th goal at 13:52 to make it 4-2. Higgins scored his 12th into an empty net at 19:12.


Canadiens GM Bob Gainey attended his first game at the Bell Centre since his 25-year-old daughter Laura was lost at sea last month. ... Lightning D Paul Ranger missed his second game in a row. ... D Janne Niinimaa and LW Garth Murray were healthy scratches for Montreal. ... The Canadiens have sold out 78 straight regular-season games.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Tampa Bay (18-20-2)1102
Montreal  (23-11-5) «1135
Three Stars
T. Plekanec

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
A. Kovalev

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
D. Boyle

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0

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Boomer and Carton: Rangers are on fire (1:03)
Scoring Summary
09:18Doug Janik (2), Slap Shot - Assists: Tim Taylor, Andre Roy
17:53Tomas Plekanec (2), Slap Shot - Assists: Alexei Kovalev, Francis Bouillon
15:44Power Play - Alexei Kovalev (4), Slap Shot - Assists: Saku Koivu, Sheldon Souray
16:15Filip Kuba (3), Slap Shot - Assists: Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards
06:01Tomas Plekanec (3), Wrist Shot - Assists: Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Samsonov
13:52Michael Ryder (4), Slap Shot - Assists: Francis Bouillon, Saku Koivu
19:41Christopher Higgins (3), Empty Net - Assists: Mike Johnson, Radek Bonk
Penalty Summary
11:46Higgins: Hooking - 2 min.
18:44Latendresse: Interference - 2 min.
02:13Souray: Hooking - 2 min.
14:37Lecavalier: Tripping - 2 min.
17:28Janik: Holding - 2 min.
15:52Fedotenko: Tripping - 2 min.
Tampa Bay3101023
Johan Holmqvist58:29224
Cristobal Huet59:57212
Game Information
Attendance - 21273
Referees - Greg Kimmerly, Don Van Massenhoven
Linesmen - David Brisebois, Pat Dapuzzo
Other Games
Ana 1 Final
Det 2
NYR 3 Final
NJ 2
Car 0 Final
Pitt 3
Phi 3 Final
Chi 4 Final
StL 1
Atl 1 Final
Min 5
Fla 1 Final
Edm 4
Van 3 Final
Cal 2