Brian Gionta scored the game-winning goal with 46.4 seconds left to lift the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
Yannick Weber's shot from the left circle was wide, but bounced off the boards and right to Gionta in front of the net. Gionta was hit from behind by a Tampa Bay defender, but still managed to get the disc into the back of the net.
Gionta finished with two goals and Alex Galchenyuk also tallied for the Canadiens, who hold a two-point edge over the Boston Bruins atop the Northeast Division standings. Carey Price made 32 saves in the win.
"The first period we had some great chances, but we also gave up good chances too. Carey kept us in the game," Gionta said. "Some of the saves he made gave us a chance to take the lead and win that game. If it wasn't for him, it would have been tight down to the end, but we were able to rebound."
Richard Panik and Vincent Lecavalier scored one goal apiece for the Lightning, losers in five straight. Ben Bishop made 32 saves, but allowed all three Montreal goals in the setback.
"We played well tonight, but Carey Price made some great saves which could have gone our way. I know he's been through tough times this week, but he's a good goalie and he proved it with the huge saves he made, especially in the first period," Lecavalier said.
Galchenyuk lit the lamp 4:04 into the middle session to put Montreal ahead 1-0. Galchenyuk controlled a loose puck in front of an empty net, but was met by a group of Tampa Bay defenders. As he was falling back, Galchenyuk was able to get enough on the puck to put it in the net.
Gionta added a goal with just under five minutes left to put the hosts ahead by two goals, but Panik potted a power play goal at the 2:24 mark to pull Tampa Bay within 2-1.
Lecavalier netted the game-tying goal 5:07 into the third period. Benoit Pouliot's shot was deflected by a Canadiens defender, but Lecavalier was there to corral the loose puck and pounded it home for his 10th tally of the season.
Montreal was 1-for-6 on the power play ... The Canadiens, who have four just games remaining, will host the Washington Capitals on Saturday before closing the season with three-straight road contests at New Jersey, Winnipeg and Toronto ... Victor Hedman had two assists in the setback.