MONTREAL (AP) — Kirby Dach and Jonathan Drouin scored in the first period and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Mike Matheson also scored for the Canadiens, who had lost six of their previous seven — including a 5-3 defeat at Tampa Bay on Saturday. Nick Suzuki had two assists and Sam Montembault stopped 31 shots to improve to 14-14-3 on the season.
“Sam played tremendous,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. “I think everybody played well. I can’t think of a guy that wasn’t that good tonight. So when you have everybody on board, we’re hard to play against.
“I liked our game. It was fun because we played against the same team as the last game. We had a lot of examples and you can really show the aspects to work on and how we want to show up against them and the things that we want to do.”
Montembault agreed, adding: “We did a lot of video. Marty did a really good job to make sure we were ready tonight. ... It’s fun playing back-to-back against them, you know what they’re going to do so you can focus on yourself.”
Brayden Point and Pat Maroon had goals for Tampa Bay. Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 17 saves. The Lightning have lost two straight since winning four of five.
“The goalie is part of the game, we’ve seen that on our end many times, where (Vasilevskiy) does the exact same thing,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I thought (Montembeault) was their best player tonight.”
Dach, back after missing 16 games with a lower-body injury, got the Canadiens on the scoreboard 8:27 into the game as his shot from the slot hit Vasilevskiy's pads and slowly trickled across the goal line. It was Dach's 13th of the season.
Drouin made it 2-0 as he skated through the left circle, got a pass from Denis Gurianov and quickly scored for his second.
Point scored on a one-timer from the left circle off a pass from Steven Stamkos at 8:58 of the second to get the Lightning on the scoreboard. It was Point's 44th.
Matheson restored Montreal's two-goal lead as his shot from the left point got through traffic in front and past Vasilevskiy with 3:02 remaining in the middle period.
“Everything they touched went in the net,” Cooper said. “We, for some reason, lost our scoring touch tonight so that’s a tough one for us.”
The Lightning pulled to 3-2 with 5:06 left in the third when Ross Colton's centering pass for Corey Perry deflected off Canadiens defenseman Justin Barron's left skate to Maroon at the right doorstep and he tapped it in for his third.
In the final seconds of the game, Tampa Bay's Mikhail Sergachev pushed Montreal's Josh Anderson into the Lightning empty net. Anderson collided with the post and was helped off the ice. The Canadiens later announced he was undergoing further testing and will miss the upcoming trip to Boston. ... Montreal also announced D Kaiden Guhle’s season is over. He is ruled out with a high-ankle sprain.
GALLAGHER RETURNS, TOO
The Canadiens also welcomed back forward Brendan Gallagher from a lower-body injury. Gallagher played only his second game since the turn of the year after being absent since Jan. 3.
“This was a fun first game back and I enjoyed it,” Gallagher said. “It’s been a long overdue experience for me, so I just had fun tonight and it was enjoyable.”
Dach was originally diagnosed with a non-COVID illness that had him sidelined since Feb. 16 but after further testing the illness symptoms were revealed to be related to a lower-body injury.
Drouin has picked up 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in 23 games since the start of 2023.
Lightning: At Ottawa on Thursday night in the second of a four-game trip.
Canadiens: At Boston on Thursday night.
AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://www.yahoo.com/AP_Sports