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Lightning overcome slow start to defeat Canadiens

The Bolts recovered from an early two-goal deficit to pick up a 5-4 win over the Habs on Saturday

by Jacob Lynn @TBLightning /

Early on in Saturday's game versus Montreal, the Lightning played like a sluggish team that was coming off a four-day layoff. 

Down by a pair of goals less than five minutes into the game, the Lightning found a spark late in the first period and rode that to a 5-4 Atlantic Division victory over the Canadiens on Saturday night.

It was Tampa Bay's second line of Alex Killorn, Anthony Cirelli and Steven Stamkos got the team going.

Killorn got the Lightning on the board late in the first period and Steven Stamkos scored early in the second to erase the lead Montreal built on two goals in the opening 10 minutes.

Video: MTL@TBL: Stamkos pots own rebound for 800th point

Stamkos' goal seemed to opened things up for the Lightning as Mitchell Stephens followed three mintues later with his first career NHL goal to give Tampa Bay the lead. Killorn added his second goal of the game 12 minutes into the period, firing a shot from the circle that trickled through the equipment of Carey Price.

Montreal quickly answered back, however, with Ben Chiarot scoring 13 seconds after Killorn to make it 4-3 through 40 minutes.

Anthony Cirelli scored an early insurance marker in the third period to re-establish Tampa Bay's two-goal lead. Cirelli cashed in on a rebound after Price made the initial save on a shot from Victor Hedman.

Montreal scored a power play goal with less than 90 seconds remaining in regulation to pull within one but the Bolts would manage to hold the lead over the final moments.

Video: MTL@TBL: Cirelli slips backhander past Price in front

In addition to the production from the second line, Hedman provided a big offensive boost on Saturday. Hedman picked up a helper on each of the Lightning's final four goals to tie a team record for assists in a game by a defensemen.

The win moves Tampa Bay into a tie with Montreal at 42 points in the Atlantic Division standings. It also helps the Bolts keep pace with the Panthers and stay a point out of the third spot in the division.

Tampa Bay will quickly get back to work as they close out the back-to-back tomorrow night at home against Detroit.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
MTL | 2:08 Jesperi Kotkaniemi (4) - Unassisted
MTL | 10:00 Max Domi (10) - Nick Suzuki, Jeff Petry
TBL | 19:01 Alex Killorn (12) - Ryan McDonagh, Steven Stamkos

2nd Period
TBL | 1:34 Steven Stamkos (14) - Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn
TBL | 4:56 Mitchell Stephens (1) - Victor Hedman, Andrei Vasilevskiy
TBL | 12:00 Alex Killorn (13) - Anthony Cirelli, Victor Hedman
MTL | 12:13 Ben Chiarot (5) - Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault

3rd Period
TBL | 0:55 Anthony Cirelli (8) - Victor Hedman
MTL | 18:32 Jordan Weal (4) - Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher - PPG

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