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Lightning score 4 PPGs, rout Canadiens in Game 2

by Sean Farrell /

MONTREAL -- What Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper liked most about his power play Sunday was that it scored, so his players gave him a lot to like.

Nikita Kucherov scored two of Tampa Bay's four power-play goals, and Steven Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula each had a goal and two assists in a 6-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Bell Centre.

The Lightning, who entered the game in an 0-for-23 power-play drought and failed to score during a four-minute advantage in the first period, scored on four consecutive power-play shots and cruised the rest of the way.

Tampa Bay leads the best-of-7 series 2-0. Game 3 is Wednesday at Amalie Arena (7 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports).

Filppula broke the Lightning's power-play drought when he scored with 24 seconds remaining in the first period. Kucherov and defenseman Victor Hedman each scored with the man-advantage in the second period to give Tampa Bay a 4-1 lead, and Kucherov scored his second power-play goal of the game at 6:37 of the third to increase the Lightning's lead to four.

Filppula, who set up Kucherov's double-overtime goal in Game 1, one-timed a wrist shot from the right side on a return pass from Hedman for the first power-play goal, which tied the game at 1-1.

Montreal had dominated the first period, and Cooper said Filppula's goal changed the game's momentum.

"There was a lot of movement, we made smart decisions and we shot the puck hard," Cooper said. "When you're making tape-to-tape passes, you give yourself a better chance. There was no goal bigger than Filppula's. They were carrying the play clearly in the first period, and for them to walk into their dressing room and they have nothing to show for it, I thought that was a momentum swinger for us. I thought we took the game over after that."

The goal came moments after Montreal center Torrey Mitchell went in on a shorthanded breakaway but was stopped by Lightning goalie Ben Bishop.

"It's such a game of inches, right, and so many small mistakes," said Tampa Bay left wing Alex Killorn, who got his first of his two assists on Filppula's goal. "They take advantage of that, it's a 2-0 game, completely different; [instead], then we go down and score a goal. It's so small the difference and how it can change a game."

Stamkos scored his first goal of the playoffs in the second period and assisted on each of Kucherov's power-play goals.

"He's one of the best players in the world, you can only hold him down for so long," said Bishop, who made 27 saves for his seventh win against Montreal this season in as many games. "You know he's going to break out. He's been working really hard, and to see him get that goal, and it was a really nice move, too, he's wanted it for a while. The team has been winning and he's been doing other things besides scoring which have been helping this team win. To see him on the scoresheet, I know is a relief but he's been doing a lot of other things besides scoring."

Bishop is 12-1-2 with a 1.49 goals-against-average in 16 regular-season and playoff games against the Canadiens. He missed the Canadiens' first-round playoff sweep of the Lightning last spring because of an elbow injury.

Stamkos, who had not scored a goal in his previous nine games, including eight in the playoffs, gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead at 8:06 of the second period. The Lightning captain got behind defenseman Tom Gilbert and Andrei Markov and drove in on a breakaway. He deked Price and tucked the puck inside the right post for his ninth goal in 31 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"This was tough, especially at this time of the year, but the guys in the room have been great," Stamkos said. "I've tried to do the things to help this team win. At this of the year you want wins. [Sunday] hopefully will be the start of something good, some confidence."

Kucherov made it 3-1 when he scored at 12:29 during a 4-on-3 power play. Kucherov shot into an open right side to finish off a passing play with Tyler Johnson and Stamkos 15 seconds after Gilbert was called for cross-checking while each team was already a man short.

Hedman increased Tampa Bay's lead to 4-1 with 14 seconds remaining in the period by scoring Tampa Bay's third power-play goal.

Johnson got his second assist on Kucherov's second power-play goal of the game, at 6:37 of the third. Gilbert scored his second goal of the playoffs at 11:06 to draw the Canadiens within 5-2, but J.T. Brown restored the Lightning's four-goal lead at 16:05.

Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry scored his first NHL playoff goal at 7:20 of the first period to put the Canadiens ahead 1-0 when he beat Bishop with a wrist shot from the right point. It was the second time Montreal has scored first in eight playoff games.

"We had the kind of start we wanted," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "It was practically perfect, we were following our game plan to the letter. But a lack of discipline late in the first period cost us the game, it's as simple as that."

Montreal goalie Carey Price, who made 18 saves, had not allowed more than five goals in his 73 previous games this season, including the first seven in the playoffs.

"If you eliminate the power-play goals, we're the better team out there," Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban said. "I think we have to find a way to capitalize on their mistakes. They turned the puck over so many times today, and last game as well, and we've got to find a way to finish."

Montreal went 0-for-3 on the power play. The Canadiens are 1-for-26 in the playoffs.

Tampa Bay center Cedric Paquette did not play after taking a shift of the second midway through the period. He sustained an undisclosed injury and did not return.

Montreal center David Desharnais was a late scratch because of the flu and was replaced in the lineup by Brian Flynn.

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