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game recap

Canadiens move into tie for second wild card with win against Lightning

Gain in Eastern playoff race by scoring three straight goals after falling behind

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

Lehkonen nets clutch goal

TBL@MTL: Lehkonen bats in puck from doorstep

Artturi Lehkonen bats in the puck on a second chance from in front to give the Canadiens a 3-2 lead in the 3rd period

  • 01:14 •

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens moved into a tie for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with a 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Montreal (43-29-8) is tied in points with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who lost 6-2 to the Boston Bruins. The Canadiens and Blue Jackets each have played 80 games, but Columbus has three more regulation/overtime wins (ROW).

Artturi Lehkonen scored at 7:47 of the third period to give Montreal a 3-2 lead, and then set up Max Domi's goal to make it 4-2 at 10:08.

 

[WATCH: All Lightning vs. Canadiens highlights]

 

Carey Price made 22 saves for the Canadiens, who are 6-1-1 in their past eight games and trail the Carolina Hurricanes by one point for the first wild card.

"Everyone knew that we had to play a full 60 (minutes)," Domi said. "It's the best in the League in the regular season, they've had a pretty impressive year. So you're never really safe, I guess, against that team, and that's how we played, a lot of desperation, a lot of character, and it was a good game by a lot of guys tonight."

Video: Clutch Performance: Domi scores, ices Canadiens' win

Steven Stamkos scored, and Edward Pasquale made 41 saves for Tampa Bay (60-16-4), which has clinched the Presidents' Trophy and is the third team in NHL history to win 60 games.

"It was a game where one team's season was on the line, and the other team's wasn't," Stamkos said.

The Lightning need to win their two remaining games, each on the road, to tie the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for most victories in a season in NHL history (62). They have lost three of their past five games.

"It's more important to get our game going and prepare for next week, but you know if we do that, we have a good chance to win both games," Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman said.

Lehkonen batted the puck out of midair after Victor Mete's shot from the point was deflected, then reached around Pasquale to score on Montreal's 44th shot on goal.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper challenged for goalie interference by Lehkonen on his goal, but it was upheld by video review.

"When the bounces aren't going our way, you've just got to stick with it," Lehkonen said. "You've got to help your team any way you can. That's pretty much what I was trying to focus on. There's a lot of games; sometimes the bounces are there, sometimes they're not."

Domi scored on a breakaway on the 45th shot for the Canadiens.

"That was a heck of a play by [Lehkonen]," Domi said. "… He just flipped it over to me, and I got lucky and shot."

Stamkos gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead at 2:28 of the first period when his pass from the left corner went into the net off Domi's leg.

Video: TBL@MTL: Stamkos scores off defender's skate

Nate Thompson tied the game 1-1 on a shot from the slot at 12:23. It was his first goal in 24 games with Montreal since he was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 11.

Cedric Paquette put the Lightning ahead 2-1 at 4:18 of the second, but Joel Armia tied it 2-2 at 7:32.

 

They said it

"It's tough to win them all, but clearly we've got better in us." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

"Obviously they're fighting for their life, so we knew they were going to come out and kind of fire it from everywhere. And that's what they did." -- Lightning goalie Edward Pasquale, who made his second start of the season after being recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Monday

"They're such a highly skilled team, from top to bottom, that you just can't afford to let your guard down. And tonight we needed a good 60-minute effort and we needed to find a way to win after two periods. You know my message to the guys was not to focus on the end result, but focus on what we needed to do to control the end result. And we went out there and played a good solid third period and found a way to score some goals." -- Canadiens coach Claude Julien

Video: TBL@MTL: Thompson buries shot from slot

 

Need to know

Stamkos has 95 points (43 goals, 52 assists), two shy of his NHL career high. He had 97 (60 goals, 37 assists) in 2011-12. … Stralman led the Lightning with 22:52 in ice time in his first game since March 5 after missing 12 games because of a lower-body injury. … The 1976-77 Canadiens were the first team to win 60 games in a season (60-8 with 12 ties). ... Montreal, with two games remaining in the regular season, has 23 more points than it did last season, the third-largest improvement in points between seasons in their history. The 1926-27 Canadiens had a 35-point improvement from 1925-26, and the 1943-44 team improved by 33 points compared to 1942-43.

 

What's next

Lightning: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; TSN4, SUN, NHL.TV)

Canadiens: At the Washington Capitals on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBCSWA, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV)

Video: Lehkonen helps Canadiens top Lightning, 4-2

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