MONTREAL — Nate Thompson said he shut his eyes and shot the puck as hard as he could.
Not the most creative plan but perfect for a player who, as the Lightning center said of himself, "doesn't pick corners that often."
And perfect for the moment as Thompson's goal from the front of the net — his second of the game — with 23.1 seconds left in overtime gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 victory over the Canadiens on Saturday at the Bell Centre.
"It's always nice to chip in, especially some big goals," said Thompson, who this season had just three goals previously. "I'm not a guy who is counted on to score, but I think I can contribute that way. It always feels good to do that."
It was a feel-good game all around for the Lightning (32-18-5), which snapped a two-game losing streak.
It also overcame a tumultuous couple of days in which goaltenders Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback and center Valtteri Filppula were injured in Thursday's loss to the Senators, Bishop on Saturday was a game-time decision to play and the team, as a precaution, called up goalies Cedrick Desjardins and Kristers Gudelevskis from AHL Syracuse.
Bishop, who is recovering from a head injury, made 28 saves for his 27th win and spiced things up in the second period by throwing punches with Montreal tough-guy Brandon Prust. That started a 10-man scrum that resulted in 26 minutes in penalties.
"We don't want to see our goalie pushed around," defenseman Radko Gudas said. "All five guys that were on the ice jumped in. It fired up the whole bench."
Just as feisty has been the penalty kill, which is 12-for-12 in its past four games and killed Eric Brewer's interference penalty with 1:05 left in regulation.
"Our (penalty-kill) guys did a heck of a job to give us a chance to win," coach Jon Cooper said.
Thompson is a big part of that, averaging 2:17 of ice time, most among team forwards.
His shorthanded goal 5:58 into the second period — Tampa Bay's third shorthanded goal in its past five games — provided a 1-0 lead as his backhand shot deflected past goalie Carey Price off the stick of Montreal's P.K. Subban.
On the winner, Alex Killorn stole the puck from Brian Gionta. His deflected shot ricocheted off the end boards to Victor Hedman, who passed to Thompson for his fifth goal of the season.
"A huge character win," Thompson said. "We were focused on the task at hand, make sure we go out and play the right way no matter who's in net, no matter who's in the lineup. Everyone contributed, everyone did the right things and we were rewarded for it."
First Period—None. Penalties—Cote, TB, major (fighting), 3:27; Prust, Mon, major (fighting), 3:27; Gudas, TB (unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:31; Parros, Mon (unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:31.
Second Period—1, Tampa Bay, Thompson 4 (Hedman, Brown), 5:58 (sh). Penalties—Palat, TB (hooking), :08; Parros, Mon (high-sticking), 3:35; Killorn, TB (interference), 5:40; Bishop, TB, served by Crombeen (leaving the crease), 17:02; Gudas, TB, misconduct, 17:02; Parros, Mon, misconduct, 17:02; Prust, Mon (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:02; Price, Mon, served by Briere (leaving the crease), 17:02.
Third Period—2, Montreal, Briere 9 (Gionta), 7:25. Penalties—Kucherov, TB (hooking), 3:33; Beaulieu, Mon (closing hand on puck), 14:50; Brewer, TB (interference), 18:55.
Overtime—3, Tampa Bay, Thompson 5 (Hedman, Killorn), 4:36. Penalties—None. Missed Penalty Shot—Kucherov, TB, 4:41 first. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 10-9-16-1—36. Montreal 6-10-8-5—29. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 3; Montreal 0 of 4. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Bishop 27-7-4 (29 shots-28 saves). Montreal, Price 23-16-5 (36-34). A—21,273 (21,273). T—2:43. Referees—Francois St. Laurent, Don Van Massenhoven. Linesmen—Darren Gibbs, Derek Nansen.