Canadiens stop skid, top Lightning
Montreal, QC – Max Pacioretty scored twice and added an assist as the Montreal Canadiens took a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Erik Cole scored twice and Alexei Emelin added a marker for the Canadiens, who stopped a four-game slide. Peter Budaj needed to make just 14 stops in the win.
Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos, who scored twice in a 4-2 win against Washington on Monday, remained at 58 goals, but is pretty much guaranteed the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as he is 10 goals ahead of Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin.
Vincent Lecavalier and Bruno Gervias each scored for the Lightning, who had won their previous two. Sebastien Caron gave up all five goals on 25 shots.
Montreal scored 2:11 into the game as Emelin one-timed a shot from the slot and followed up his own rebound, but Lecavalier tied the game five minutes later when Budaj came out of the net to his left and tried to pass it to the other side. It went right to Lecavalier and he put the gift into the empty net.
The Habs scored twice in the second to take the lead for good as Cole tallied 1:42 in on a one-timer from the right circle and netted his 34th of the year with 5:26 to play on a tip of a Tomas Plekanec shot.
Tampa Bay got one back 3:42 into the third when Gervais' own rebound hit off a Canadien and went in.
Pacioretty, though, got it back two minutes later on a backhand off a rebound in front and he sealed the win with 5:03 to play as he danced through the neutral zone down the right wing and blew a shot past Caron.
"It was fun to get a couple of goals here," said Pacioretty. "Goal-scoring is a big part in your mind and when you're not scoring, it tends to block things up in there. But once you get the first one, it all comes back. We want to leave a good impression here at the end of the season."
Stamkos had four shots in the game...Montreal plays in Carolina on Thursday...Tampa plays in Toronto on Thursday...Each team won twice in the season series, with the home team winning each game...Cole's second goal came on the power play as Montreal went 1-for-4 on the man advantage...Tampa Bay was 0-for-3 on the power play.