Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Max Pacioretty had a goal and two assists as the Montreal Canadiens emphatically avoided a sweep with a 6-2 victory over the host Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Carey Price made 22 saves and six different players scored for the Canadiens, who had totaled four goals in the first three games of this series and snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Lightning.
"I'm very proud of my players. They were finally rewarded for their hard work," said Canadiens coach Michel Therrien.
Montreal still must win three more games to become the fifth team in NHL history to rally from a 3-0 series deficit. Game 5 is Saturday night in Montreal.
Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop was pulled five minutes into the second period after allowing three goals on 14 shots.
Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat scored power-play goals for the Lightning, who outscored the Canadiens 21-8 in five regular-season wins.
"We just need to regroup," Palat said. "The pressure is on them. We are still up 3-1. If you told me before the series we would be up 3-1 I would take it."
The Canadiens opened the scoring for just the third time in these playoffs with Andrei Markov's goal only 2:44 in. The veteran defenseman scored on Montreal's first shot of the game, taking a pass from P.K. Subban off his skate and firing the puck over Bishop's outstretched right leg.
Markov was called for cross-checking near the eight-minute mark of the first period, but the Canadiens scored short-handed to go up 2-0. After Torrey Mitchell cleared the puck from the Montreal zone, Pacioretty used his speed to chase it down, cut to the middle and beat Bishop on the blocker side with a wrist shot at 8:43.
David Desharnais' first goal of the postseason gave Montreal a 3-0 lead at 5:08 of the second period. His slap shot on the rush went off the glove of Bishop and trickled across the goal line, which resulted in a goalie change.
The Canadiens scored twice in 15 seconds on Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made his NHL playoff debut, later in the second.
A dormant Montreal power play came to life, as Jeff Petry blasted a shot past Vasilevskiy at 9:39. It was just the second power-play goal for the Canadiens this postseason.
Brendan Gallagher then beat Vasilevskiy with a slap shot to make it 5-0.
Kucherov put Tampa Bay on the board with 7:34 remaining in the second, and Palat tapped in a return feed from Tyler Johnson 17 seconds into the third period.
The Canadiens' Brandon Prust chipped a rebound past Vasilevskiy with one hand on his stick at 4:52 for a 6-2 lead.
The Canadiens have the same number of short-handed goals as power-play goals this postseason ... The previous two playoff meetings between the teams resulted in sweeps: Tampa Bay in 2004 and Montreal last year ... Vasilevskiy stopped 23 shots.