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Tampa Bay Lightning ends skid by beating Canadiens 3-1

MONTREAL — Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier didn't seem to mind the boos Thursday night at the Bell Centre. In fact, the Montreal natives seemed to relish them, perhaps even invite them.

St. Louis, the first star in the Lightning's 3-1 victory over the Canadiens, didn't just do a quick turn on the ice when announced. He lingered and saluted the crowd with his stick. Same with Lecavalier, who was the third star.

"It was fine," Lecavalier said later in the locker room. "It was another form of motivation."

And recognition of a job well done.

St. Louis, from the suburb of Laval, scored two goals, one short-handed, for his first multigoal game since Dec. 13. Lecavalier, from Ile Bizard, had a goal and an assist. He also fired up the fans when he pushed Tomas Plekanec with his stick before the faceoff after his goal. Plekanec, Lecavalier said, had chopped his finger with his stick.

For the rest of the game, Lecavalier was booed when he touched the puck.

"It's a big game," St. Louis said. "People try to get under our skin. It's nothing new."

New for Tampa Bay (7-14-8) was the victory that snapped an 0-7-2 streak that sent it to the bottom of the league and was its longest without a win since a 10-game streak in January 2001.

It wasn't all St. Louis and Lecavalier.

Olie Kolzig, in his first start since Nov. 29, made 31 saves, 13 in the third when the Lightning was outshot 13-4, for his second victory and first since Oct. 30.

The team blocked 25 shots. Defenseman Andrej Meszaros had a game-best seven.

"Everybody feels good leaving the rink," St. Louis said. "Hopefully, this is contagious and the confidence keeps spreading through the room."

What a nice reward after a difficult day in which Tampa Bay did not get to its hotel until 1 p.m. thanks to plane trouble the night before that forced it to recheck into a Buffalo, N.Y., hotel after a loss to the Sabres.

"After we got off the plane, (associate coach) Mike Sullivan said, 'We're getting tested right now,' " coach Rick Tocchet said. "It's as bad as it gets with the plane not going after us losing."

It looked bad when Kolzig, pulled from his past two starts, gave up Patrice Brisebois' power-play goal 5:34 into the game on a shot from the high slot that used Mark Recchi as a screen.

St. Louis tied the score with 9:11 left with a big shot from the left wing boards that beat goalie Jaroslav Halak to the glove side. Seventy-four seconds later, Lecavalier pounced on a rebound for his team-high 12th goal to make it 2-1.

It was 3-1 8:31 into the second period on St. Louis' breakaway goal over Halak's glove, his 10th of the season and the Lightning's first short-handed.

Then it was up to Kolzig, the second star, who was exceptional seeing the puck through screens as Montreal, with a 32-22 shot advantage, pressed the play.

"I'm really proud of Olie Kolzig," Tocchet said. "He's had a couple of bad starts, and he's a pro. The guy comes into a great hockey rink and shuts them down."

As for St. Louis and Lecavalier, their body of work in Montreal speaks for itself.

St. Louis has 10 goals and 16 points in 15 career games there. Lecavalier has eight goals and 17 points in 18 games.

"They played hard," Tocchet said. "Marty was a warrior, and Vinny played as hard as he could."

"If you don't get up for these games in this building," St. Louis said, "you don't have the right blood running through your veins."

Lightning 2 1 0 3
Canadiens 1 0 0 1
Lightning 2 1 0 3
Canadiens 1 0 0 1

First Period1, Montreal, Brisebois 2 (Kovalev, Markov), 5:34 (pp). 2, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 9 (Recchi, Lecavalier), 10:49. 3, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 12 (Meszaros, Krajicek), 12:03. PenaltiesKonopka, TB, major (fighting), 2:23; Bouillon, Mon, major (fighting), 2:23; Szczechura, TB (slashing), 4:33; Lapierre, Mon (interference), 6:11; S.Kostitsyn, Mon (tripping), 12:13; Craig, TB (hooking), 17:15.

Second Period4, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 10 (Krajicek), 8:31 (sh). PenaltiesEminger, TB (interference), 1:06; Malik, TB (interference), 7:29; Lecavalier, TB (hooking), 12:58; A.Kostitsyn, Mon (holding), 16:24.

Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesKovalev, Mon (tripping), 16:11; Lecavalier, TB, double minor (hooking, unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:21. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 11-7-4—2. Montreal 8-11-13—32. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 4; Montreal 1 of 5. GoaliesTampa Bay, Kolzig 2-4-1 (32 shots-31 saves). Montreal, Halak 3-3-1 (22-19). A21,273 (21,273).

Lightning 3

Canadiens 1

Tampa Bay Lightning ends skid by beating Canadiens 3-1 12/11/08 [Last modified: Sunday, December 14, 2008 1:08pm]
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