TAMPA – For the second game in a row, the Tampa Bay Lightning were outshot decisively but managed to come away with a win.
Vincent Lecavalier's goal 8:37 into the third period capped Tampa Bay's comeback from a two-goal deficit as the Lightning rallied to beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Although Montreal outshot the Lightning 34-22, the Lightning won their third straight at home and fourth in six games overall.
Second-period goals by David Desharnais and Erik Cole put the Canadiens ahead 3-1 before JT Wyman got one back at 17:38. Wyman's first NHL goal was a wrister from the right circle that leaked through Carey Price's pads and barely trickled over the goal line.
"I knew as soon as I got down to the goal I saw it trickle across," Wyman said. "I'm still waiting to hit the back of the net."
Wyman also had to wait out an extended video review before the goal was allowed to stand.
"I was just trying not to think about it," Wyman said of the review. "The wait maybe made it a little more thrilling, but it was worth it. It was worth the wait. At any level, when you puck your first puck in the net it feels great."
Montreal still led 3-2 after 40 minutes; the Canadiens came into the game 11-0-3 when leading after two periods, but this time, they couldn't hang on.
Marc-Andre Bergeron tied it at 2:32 with a wrister through traffic from the left point -- another goal that wasn't confirmed until after a long video review confirmed that the puck hadn't been touched by a high stick. Lecavalier then put the Lightning ahead for good a little over six minutes later when he pounced on the puck as it sat in the crease and eased it past Price for his 13th of the season. Wyman added an assist for a two-point night.
Steve Downie had two assists for Tampa Bay and Raphael Diaz also had two for Montreal.
Mathieu Garon stopped 31 shots for the Lightning, several in the last few moments after Bruno Gervais was called for delay of game when he sent the puck over the glass and Montreal made it a 6-on-4 skating advantage by pulling Price.
"That last 30 seconds seemed like two minutes," Garon said. "We worked so hard coming back, we didn't want it to slip away."
Price made 18 saves for the Canadiens, who finish a two-game swing through Florida with a visit to the Panthers on Saturday, and wasn't happy with his performance.
"The guys played hard," Price said. "I thought we deserved better. I wish I could have come up with a few more saves."
Steven Stamkos put the Lightning (16-17-3) ahead in the first period with a redirection of a shot from the blue line by Pavel Kubina at 3:43. The goal was Stamkos' 23rd of the season, moving him into the top spot in the NHL. He has seven goals and three assists in his last seven games. Stamkos also won 12 of 16 faceoffs.
Montreal tied it at 8:42 with a power-play goal by Michael Cammalleri. The goal was the result of some hard work by Desharnais, who carried the puck behind the net and fed Cammalleri, standing alone to the left of Garon, for his eighth of the season.
The Canadiens (14-17-7) went ahead at 5:01 on Desharnais' sixth of the season and grabbed a 3-1 lead when Cole beat Garon at 12:46 for his team-leading 15th goal.
From that point, Tampa Bay did all the scoring. The three unanswered goals improved the Lightning to 10-1-3 in one-goal games.
"It's disappointing with the lead we had," said Montreal coach Randy Cunneyworth, who saw his record drop to 1-5-0 since taking over for Jacques Martin. "To relinquish that in the manner we did kind of hurts. But we did a lot of good things to get the lead in the first place. I thought we worked awfully hard, but they got some fortunate bounces."
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher pointed out that the bounces can go both ways.
"The funny thing is, we've played some games just as good as this one," Boucher said, "but we just couldn't score. I kept saying ‘we've got to stick to what we do' because we were playing great, just missing open nets and hitting posts. Now they are all coming back at us, and they come back because we stuck to it and didn't get discouraged. Our motto has always been, ‘Get Better. Get Better Every Day.'"
For the Canadiens, it was just one more loss in a season of frustrations.
"We had some opportunities that we didn't capitalize on," Cole said. "It's a broken record this year that we've got a 3-1 lead and we end up losing the hockey game. It continues to be a problem. We just need to sort it out."