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St. Louis, Lecavalier make triumphant return home as Lightning beat Habs 3-1 @NHLdotcom

MONTREAL - Martin St. Louis scored twice and Vincent Lecavalier had another as the two Montreal natives helped the Tampa Bay Lightning end a nine-game losing streak with a 3-1 NHL victory over the Canadiens on Thursday night.

St. Louis' first two-goal game of the season gave Tampa Bay (7-14-8) its first victory since a 4-1 win over Nashville on Nov. 21.

The win was also a long time coming for Rich Tocchet, who improved to 2-7-4 since taking over as head coach from the fired Barry Melrose. It came amid controversy over Melrose calling Tocchet a "puppet" Tuesday, and saying the Lightning's owners meddle in coaches' decisions.

Patrice Brisebois scored for Montreal (16-7-5), which is now 4-1-1 on a seven-game homestand that ends Saturday night against Washington.

The Canadiens had Jaroslav Halak in goal for a second straight game as starter Carey Price sat out with a flu, while veteran Olaf Kolzig made his first start in nine games for the Lightning in place of Mike Smith.

Montreal captain Saku Koivu left early in the second period, came back 10 minutes later, then didn't return for the third. There was no immediate word on his status.

The Canadiens looked ready to romp as Brisebois jumped into the play, took a pass from Alex Kovalev and blasted a low shot through Kolzig's pads 5:34 into the game. It was Montreal's first power-play goal in four games and only their second in a span of 22 chances.

Moments later, Halak robbed Lecavalier with a glove save, but the Slovak goalie wasn't at his best as St. Louis fired a shot on a rush down the left side, which appeared to go off Andrei Markov's stick, to tie it at 10:49.

An Andrej Meszaros shot got between Halak's pads and dropped into the crease for Lecavalier to tap in at 12:03.

The Canadiens were on a power play when a pass bounced off Matt D'Agostini's stick to Lukas Krajicek, who swept the puck out to centre ice where St. Louis was behind the defence for a breakaway. He beat Halak to the glove side for his fifth goal in the last five games.

Notes: The brain trust for Canada's 2010 Olympic team - Steve Yzerman, Ken Holland, Kevin Lowe, Doug Armstrong and Johnny Misley - were at the Bell Centre. Yzerman, the executive director, said they have been watching players on their own but it is the first time the group has been together to watch and discuss potential players. ... Tampa Bay's Lecavalier and St. Louis are strong candidates to play at the Vancouver Games, but Price missed a chance to impress the team selectors, who are putting together a long list of candidates. ... With Mathieu Dandenault and Christopher Higgins out with injuries suffered Tuesday against Calgary, Guillaume Latendresse and Ryan O'Byrne got back into the lineup after sitting out a handful of games each.

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