Lightning extend win streak to 5 with 2-1 win over Canadiens

Lightning

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is scored on by Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Montreal. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

MONTREAL (AP) — Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 38 shots and the Tampa Bay Lightning extended their winning streak to five games with a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov scored for the Lightning (22-13-4). Vasilevskiy improved to 10-1-2 all-time against Montreal.

Defenseman Jeff Petry scored for the Canadiens (18-17-6), who have lost four games in a row. Carey Price made 21 saves in Montreal’s first home game after a seven-game trip.

Tampa Bay improved to 15-2-0 against Atlantic-division opponents this season.

All the scoring came in the first period.

It took 42 seconds for the Lightning to score on their first shot on goal. Erik Cernak threw the puck on net and Cirelli deflected it past Price. Price has allowed 11 goals in his past two starts, losses to Tampa and Florida.

Petry tied the score for Montreal at 5:48, as a penalty to the Bolts expired. The defenseman waited patiently for Alex Killorn to exit the shooting lane before firing a perfectly placed shot from the blue line into the top corner of the net.

Tampa made it 2-1 less than three minutes later. Price misplayed the puck behind his goal and turned it over to Brayden Point, who fed Kucherov in front for his 14th of the season.

Vasilevskiy did his part to keep the Habs at bay. The Lightning goaltender denied Max Domi with the pad save midway through the first and made a nice save on rookie Nick Suzuki late in the period.

Vasilevskiy stopped another 14 shots in the second and 13 in the third for his seventh straight win against Montreal. Tampa players blocked an additional 21 shots in the game.

The Canadiens lacked firepower without Brendan Gallagher, out indefinitely with a concussion sustained in Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat in Carolina. Gallagher missed his first game since Feb. 2017, snapping a streak of 229 starts.

The recently recalled Dale Weise made his season debut in Gallagher’s absence, while forward Nick Cousins was promoted to the first line. Cousins had five shots on goal.

NOTES: The Canadiens made two trades prior to the game. Montreal acquired defenseman Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2020 fourth-round pick. The Canadiens also traded defenseman Mike Reilly to the Ottawa Senators for forward Andrew Sturtz and a 2021 fifth-round pick. … Petry has nine points in his past six games. … The Lightning defeated Montreal 5-4 in Tampa Bay last Saturday.

UP NEXT

Lightning: At Ottawa on Saturday.

Canadiens: Host Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

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