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Canadiens top Lightning, extend Atlantic lead

Montreal inches closer to division title; Tampa Bay four points back of second wild card

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Montreal Canadiens extended their Atlantic Division lead to eight points with a 2-1 overtime win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

Alexander Radulov scored 51 seconds into overtime, and Phillip Danault scored in the second period for the Canadiens (45-24-9), who have won four in a row. Carey Price made 21 saves.

 

WATCH: All Canadiens vs. Lightning highlights

 

"I was really proud of the way the guys handled themselves," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "You clinch a [Stanley Cup Playoff] spot (on Thursday) and there's always that chance of a letdown when you play a real desperate team that was going to give us and playoff-type game and we were ready for it."

Montreal leads the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs in the division having played one more game. Ottawa lost to the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 and Toronto defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-4.

Yanni Gourde scored for the Lightning, (38-29-10), who are four points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"They've got a good team and we are playing all these good teams down the stretch here, and we are hanging with them all," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "So that's real, really encouraging, but as I've said many times, we are running out of games here."

Video: MTL@TBL: Price makes a pair of saves with his glove

Radulov's game-winner came on a slap shot from the right circle that beat Andrei Vasilevskiy high on the glove side. The Lightning had a chance to end the game seconds earlier when Nikita Kucherov missed an open net on a 2-on-1.

"We had a lot of chances, their goalie played well and kept them in the game for them to tie it up," Radulov said. "In overtime, we were trading chances. [Pacioretty] made a nice pass and the puck kind of found me."

Vasilevskiy made 34 saves.

Danault scored his 13th goal of the season at 14:24 of the second period to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead. Victor Hedman took control of the puck out of the corner and tried to get it to Vasilevskiy for a cover, but miscommunication between the two allowed Danault to put it in the net with a backhand.

"I always tell [Danault] the points are kind of icing on the cake the way he plays," Pacioretty said. "He's always in great support, great position, always in great defensive-zone position. So it's really nice to see him get rewarded and contribute because he does so much away stuff away from the puck that allows our line to create offense."

Video: MTL@TBL: Danault jams home loose puck from in front

 

Goal of the game

Gourde made it 1-1 at 11:38 of the third period with his third goal in the past three games. Hedman took a slap shot from the point that deflected off a defender's stick and took a high bounce off Gourde's leg and past Price's glove.

"[Joel Vermin] made a good pass to Hedman," Gourde said. "The puck got tipped in front of me and I barely touched it. It was a big goal, but we needed a better effort."

Video: MTL@TBL: Gourde tips in Hedman's shot from the point

 

Save of the game

Price turned away Brayden Point on a mini-breakaway with a blocker/stick save at 17:28 of the second period.

 

Highlight of the game

Point made a perfect feed to Kucherov, who had a wide-open net, but the puck rolled off his stick and went wide. The Canadiens came back with a quick counter and Pacioretty found Radulov with a cross-ice feed, and Radulov knuckled a one-timer past Vasilevskiy.

"We had the right guy in the right spot with the puck on his stick, and it's too bad," Cooper said. "It just rolled on him right at the very end."

Video: MTL@TBL: Radulov nets scorching one-timer for OT win

 

Unsung performance of the game

Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin was plus-1 with four hits and three blocked shots in 22:02 of ice time.

 

They said it

"Coach mentioned that this was going to be an important game for us because Tampa [Bay] is fighting for the playoffs. We want to test ourselves, we want to play good hockey and we did that tonight." -- Canadiens forward Alexander Radulov

 

"We'll take this point. We're still in it, there's still five games left. We have another big game [Sunday]. -- Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman

 

Need to know

It was Radulov's first overtime goal since Feb. 2, 2008 with the Nashville Predators. … Canadiens forward Torrey Mitchell (flu) was scratched. … Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry had a goal waved off with 3:38 remaining in the third period because of goalie interference.

 

What's next

Canadiens: At the Florida Panthers on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, SNE, RDS, NHL.TV)

Lightning: Host the Dallas Stars on Sunday (6 p.m. ET; SUN, FS-SW+, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Radulov buries OT winner as Habs beat Lightning, 2-1

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