Habs battle Bolts in Tampa

11:16 AM, Mar 9, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The last time the Montreal Canadiens faced the Tampa Bay Lightning they blew a three-goal lead before finally winning in a shootout.

The first-place Canadiens will try to go 2-0 against the Lightning on Saturday, as the clubs meet at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Montreal led 3-0 heading into the third period when it visited Tampa on Feb. 12, but the Bolts scored three times in the final six minutes of regulation to send the game to OT. David Desharnais scored the eventual game-winner in the shootout.

Last month's win over the Lightning was just Montreal's second in six trips to Tampa. The Canadiens have won three of four overall in this series.

Montreal is coming off a win, posting Thursday's 4-2 decision at Carolina to improve to 2-1-0 on a five-game road trip. The Canadiens are 7-2-2 on the road this season overall.

Lars Eller tallied the go-ahead goal in the third period and P.K. Subban added insurance in the Canadiens' 4-2 win over the Hurricanes.

Brandon Prust and Josh Gorges each netted a goal in the opening frame for Northeast-leading Montreal, which avoided consecutive losses for the first time in a month.

Carey Price made 42 saves, including one on a penalty shot in the second period.

"I thought we came out strong in the first period and were a little flat in the second, but the most important thing is that we bounced back in the third period," Price said.

The Habs rebounded nicely after having an 11-point streak (8-0-3) snapped Tuesday against the New York Islanders. Montreal enters Saturday with a one- point edge over Boston for the Northeast Division lead. The Bruins, who have played three less games than the Canadiens, face visiting Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

The Canadiens will not have defenseman Yannick Weber in Saturday's game. Weber was sent back to Montreal for further tests after suffering a knee injury on Thursday.

The Lightning, meanwhile, lost for the sixth time in seven games in Thursday's 2-1 regulation loss against visiting Winnipeg. Bryan Little scored the deciding goal with 4:08 left to play, enabling the Jets to avenge an earlier lopsided loss to Tampa Bay. The Lightning destroyed Winnipeg 8-3 in a home game back on Feb. 1.

Steven Stamkos came through with his league-leading 18th tally of the season for the Lightning's lone score. Anders Lindback finished with 26 saves in the loss.

"It's hard to take because the results are not coming with the effort," Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. "Our players did everything they could tonight."

Tampa Bay fell to 6-5-1 as the host this season, but the club did get forward Ryan Malone back on the ice after he missed the previous 13 games with a lower-body injury. Malone had an assist while logging over 19 minutes of ice time.

The Sports Network

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