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Kucherov sends Lightning past Canadiens in Game 1

by Sean Farrell /

MONTREAL -- Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning were not going to be denied in overtime. Certainly not twice.

Kucherov scored 2:06 into the second overtime to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Bell Centre on Friday.

Kucherov took a pass from Valtteri Filppula and beat Montreal goalie Carey Price with a low shot from the top of the slot.

"[Brian] Boyle made a good play in the corner there, and after [Filppula] takes it and put it through the legs of the defenseman and he just put it in my wheelhouse," said Kucherov, who had an apparent goal waved off 2:56 into the first overtime. Referee Eric Furlatt ruled that the puck went over the goal line as a result of Kucherov pushing Price's pad into the net after the goaltender made the initial save.

"We were joking, he might be one of the first guys to score two goals in overtime," said center Tyler Johnson, who gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead 2:34 into the third period.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper conceded that the no-goal call was the right one.

"I can't argue with the ref's call," Cooper said. "It's tough in the moment when you watch it fast. But they've got the trained eye, and when I looked at the replay he pushed his pad in the net and didn't really give Price the chance to make the second save, so it was probably the right call."

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien took a lot of positives from the game, though he complained that the Lightning were offside on the play that led to the winning goal.

"We're disappointed and frustrated because of the situation, but there's nothing we can do about it," Therrien said. "But what I look at more is the way we played, against the Lightning it was definitely our best game. We were the team that put on the pressure, we followed our game plan practically to the letter. There's a lot of positive to take out of this game."

Left wing Max Pacioretty drew Montreal even at 1-1 with his third goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 5:13 remaining in the third period. Pacioretty's shot from the top of the left faceoff circle popped out of the base of the webbing of Lightning goalie Ben Bishop's catching glove, flew into the air and dropped behind him before crossing the goal line.

"It didn't bother me that much," Bishop said. "I felt I was playing pretty well. You'd like to have it back. I played baseball for a lot of years, so it's kind of disappointing."

Johnson scored his seventh goal of the playoffs to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 2:34 of the third. He deflected Matt Carle's shot from the left point past Price 16 seconds after Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin's hooking penalty expired.

"[Carle] just had a nice shot; we were in front kind of battling and he was just able to find my stick, and fortunately for me it just went in," Johnson said.

Pacioretty's goal ended Bishop's shutout streak at 133:18. Bishop, who made 43 saves, got his first playoff shutout Wednesday with a 31-save effort in the Lightning's 2-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of their first-round series.

Johnson's goal ended Price's shutout streak at 103:24. Price made 33 saves Friday after making 43 on Sunday for his fifth playoff shutout in Montreal's 2-0 first-round series-clinching win against the Ottawa Senators.

"You get that first goal and it's a different game, but we didn't get it," Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban said. "We battled hard, they scored a goal and we battled back to get it back, and I thought in overtime we had a lot of opportunities to end it."

Bishop made a sensational save on Tomas Plekanec's shorthanded chance at 17:27 of the second period. The 6-foot-7 goaltender stacked his pads and flashed his glove to snare Plekanec's 2-on-1 shot on a pass from Pacioretty.

"He brought the two-pad stack back into style with that save on Plekanec," Cooper said. "That's an unreal save. That's a game-changer right there."

Bishop also stopped Pacioretty on a shorthanded breakaway 6:55 into the second.

Montreal came out flying from the opening faceoff, and center David Desharnais nearly put the Canadiens ahead on his first shift when he fired a wrist shot that beat Bishop but hit high on the right post 1:51 into the game.

Bishop got some help from the right post again when Pacioretty's low shot from the left side hit the post, and Bishop denied Brendan Gallagher's shot with a pad save off the rebound at 11:38.

Left wing Alex Galchenyuk was called for the Canadiens' first three minor penalties.

"He had a tough night," Therrien said.

Each team's power-play struggles during the playoffs continued.

Tampa Bay went 0-for-4; the Lightning are 2-for-34 (5.9 percent) with the man advantage. Montreal went 0-for-3 and is 1-for-23 (4.3 percent).

"It's a frustrating way to lose when you lose in a deep game like that, but you've got to feel good about our game," said Montreal right wing Dale Weise, who fired wide on a good scoring opportunity just before the winning goal. "We had a lot of chances, and you've got to turn the page and come back and win Game 2."

Game 2 is Sunday at Bell Centre (6 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

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