TAMPA, Fla. – Carey Price stopped 22 shots, Max Pacioretty had a short-handed goal and two assists, and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lighting 6-2 on Thursday night to stay alive in their second-round playoff series.
Pacioretty and Andrei Markov scored in the first as the Canadiens avoided a sweep with their first victory in nine games this season against the Lightning. Game 5 is Saturday night in Montreal, where Tampa Bay won the first two games of the series.
Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop allowed three goals on 14 shots before he was pulled a little over five minutes into the second period. Bishop had 30 saves in Tampa Bay's dramatic 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.
Price, a leading contender for NHL MVP, limited the high-scoring Lightning to power-play goals by Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. By the time Kucherov scored at 12:26 of the second, the Canadiens had built a 5-0 lead.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper pulled Bishop after David Desharnais' shot skipped off the 6-foot-7 goaltender's glove and into the net for the 5-7 forward's first goal of the playoffs. That hardly slowed the Canadiens, who scored twice in their first three shots against backup Andrei Vasilevskiy.
P.K. Subban picked up his second assist of the night on Jeff Petry's power-play goal. Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec assisted on Brendan Gallagher's even-strength goal just 15 seconds later at 9:54.
The Lightning went 5-0 against Montreal during the regular season. They outscored their Atlantic Division rivals 10-4 in winning the first three games of this series, including a 6-2 victory in Game 2.
The Canadiens played much better on the road in Game 3, which slipped away 2-1 on Tyler Johnson's goal with 1.1 seconds remaining. The mission Thursday night was to do whatever necessary to get the series back to Montreal.
They were in control from the start.
Markov, assisted by Subban and Pacioretty, beat Bishop from the left circle less than three minutes in. The veteran defenseman was in the penalty box for cross checking when Pacioretty's fourth goal of the playoffs made it 2-0 at 8:43 of the opening period.
NOTES: It's the third time in franchise history the Lightning won the first three games of a series. The other two ended in sweeps, with Tampa Bay eliminating Montreal in the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals and beating Washington in the conference semifinals in 2011. ... Tampa Bay had only allowed four goals over its previous 14 periods before Markov and Pacioretty scored in the first period Thursday night. ... The loss ended Tampa Bay's five-game playoff winning streak. Bishop allowed six goals during the stretch, which began in the Lightning's first-round series against Detroit. The goaltender is 13-2-2 all-time against the Canadiens, including playoffs.