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Habs survive Lightning rally for 4-3 shootout win

by Lonnie Herman

TAMPA -- The Montreal Canadiens snapped their three-game winless streak -- but they had to withstand Tampa Bay's third-period comeback and survive a shootout to do it.

David Desharnais scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Canadiens a 4-3 win Tuesday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum -- but not until after the Lightning overcame a three-goal deficit in the final six minutes of regulation.

Montreal appeared to be cruising to victory with a 3-0 until Victor Hedman scored with 5:56 remaining to ruin Carey Price's bid for his first shutout since Feb. 11, 2012. Hedman then charged the net to bat a cross-ice pass from Teddy Purcell out of the air and behind Price to cut the Montreal lead to one goal with 1:43 remaining. The two goals matched Hedman's total coming into the game.

Sami Salo sent the game into overtime with just 44 seconds left to play when his power-play slap shot from the blue line deflected off a skate in front and went past Price with Tampa Bay goaltender Anders Lindback off the ice for an extra skater and Montreal's Tomas Plekanec in the penalty box for tripping.

The goal was the first of the season for Salo and his first as a member of the Lightning. Salo also got an assist on Hedman's second goal for his 45th career multi-point game.

But Desharnais scored in the second round of the shootout, and Price stopped Steven Stamkos for the win.

"Obviously our second period wasn't good enough, trailing 3-0," Hedman said. "We told ourselves to go out there and leave it out there and I think we did. We battled hard, came back and got a point."

Although his team blew a three-goal lead late in the game, Montreal coach Michel Therrien was content to accent the positives.

"We came to win this hockey game, and that is what we did," Therrien said. "We were almost perfect for 54 minutes and we opened the door for them. I thought we had bad execution on the first goal. The second one was fluky and there was nothing Carey could do about it."

Montreal (7-4-1) dominated the second period and scored twice to put the Lightning in a three-goal hole after 40 minutes. At 8:21 P.K. Subban collected his second point of the game when he sent the puck through traffic and into the net for his second goal of the season.

Lars Eller, who assisted on Subban's goal, also helped set up Travis Moen's first of the season with 66 seconds left in the period. Moen, who beat Lindback from the low slot, scored his first goal in 21 games, dating to Dec. 31, 2011.

Brian Gionta opened the scoring with his third goal of the season at 19:17 of the first period when he converted a pass from Subban during a 5-on-3 advantage.

Alexander Killorn was sent off for tripping at 18:03 and Hedman was called for roughing 45 seconds later. Gionta then tipped Plekanec's pass into the net to give Montreal a 1-0 lead.

The roughing call on Hedman did not sit well with Lightning coach Guy Boucher.

"You look at it on the video," he said. "Our guy didn't have the puck and someone took a 15-foot run at him."

After a 6-1-0 start, Tampa Bay has gone 0-4-1 -- and Boucher didn't try to hide his frustration after the latest loss.

"When you gather all the small negative stuff that has been happening and put it all together, it's difficult to deal with," he said. "Consciously and unconsciously it wears on you and it's heavy."

Montreal held Tampa Bay's potent power play in check, allowing just one goal on five chances and limiting the Lightning to three shots with the extra man.

It all came down to the shootout and Desharnais, the second Montreal shooter, who fired a low wrister into the net.

"When you have a big goalie like that," Desharnais said of the 6-foot-6 Lindback, "he's tough to beat upstairs so you've got to go low,"

Price stopped 21 shots to earn his seventh win of the season. Like his coach, Price preferred to look at the bright side.

"We won the game," he said, "and that's all that matters."

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