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MONTREAL – Nikita Kucherov scored at 2:06 of the second overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Kucherov took a pass in the slot from Valtteri Filppula and beat goalie Carey Price with a wrist shot to the glove side on the first shot of the period.
"Boyle made a good play and Filppula got it through the D's legs. He put it right in my wheelhouse. I just had to shoot," Kucherov said.
Kucherov was involved in a controversial call 3 minutes into the first overtime. His shot on a breakaway was stopped and he bumped into Price as the puck went into the net, although it appeared Price dragged the puck in himself. After review, it was ruled Kucherov interfered with Price.
"I'm not going to complain about it," Kucherov said. "I don't think about it."
Tyler Johnson opened the scoring for Tampa Bay early in the third with his playoffs-leading seventh goal. Ben Bishop made 43 saves for the Lightning, coming off a Game 7 victory over Detroit on Wednesday night.
"It's nice but it doesn't mean much," Bishop said. "You've got to put it out of your mind pretty quickly. We have to get ready for the next one."
Max Pacioretty tied it with 5:13 left on a wrist shot off the rush down the left side that Bishop caught, but couldn't squeeze with his glove. The puck dropped behind him into the net.
Game 2 is Sunday night in Montreal.
"We'll be frustrated and upset, but we'll come back to the rink tomorrow and have that attitude of doing what it takes to win the next game," Pacioretty said. "There were a lot of good things to build off of tonight."
Price stopped 33 shots for the Canadiens.
"We had more than enough chances tonight, but it didn't go in for us," Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban said. "There weren't a lot of things I can look at where we weren't doing the right things out there. We played the right game today."
The Canadiens wasted a chance to get an early lead with Bishop clearly nervous, misplaying pucks around the crease. But David Desharnais and Pacioretty hit goalposts and another chance was ruled no-goal after a video review.
Weathering the early storm looked to settle down Bishop and he made the save of the night late in the second period when he stacked the pads and got a glove on Tomas Plekanec's shot on a short-handed 2 on 1 with Pacioretty.
At the other end, Price was at his Hart Trophy nominee best, and he got help during a scramble when Ondrej Palat had an open side but saw his shot go off Jeff Petry's skate.
Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk was sent off three times on minors, once for delay of game when a clearing attempt flew over the glass and another when Filppula sold a trip to the officials.
Johnson went off midway through the third period after a cross-check to the back or shoulder from Brendan Gallagher, but returned later. Johnson was penalized for holding on the play.
NOTES: Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos appeared to jam a wrist in traffic near the Montreal net in the first period. He stayed in the game, but it will be something to watch for as the series progresses. ... Forward J.T. Brown returned to the Lightning lineup, bumping Nikita Nesterov.