Suzuki scores in SO, Canadiens beat Lightning 5-4
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Nick Suzuki scored in the shootout, and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 on Saturday night.
Suzuki beat Brian Elliott on a nifty backhander in the third round as Montreal won for the fourth time in 13 games (4-5-4).
Cole Caufield, Corey Schueneman, Josh Anderson and Jesse Ylonen scored in regulation for Montreal, and Jake Allen stopped 37 shots.
“We talk about being process driven, not so much result driven, and I think the result will just come along,” Canadiens interim coach Martin St. Louis said. “Just focus on the process, and I think we’ve done a good job of that tonight.”
Nikita Kucherov had a goal and two assists, and Steven Stamkos, Anthony Cirelli and Brayden Point also scored for the Lightning. Elliott made 27 saves as the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions had a four-game winning streak end.
“Mentally, a lot of really bad mental mistakes,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “We’ve got to fight through that, It’s a tough league, and anybody can beat anybody.”
Ylonen knotted it at 4 from the left circle at 2:18 of the third.
After Stamkos opened the scoring 8:57 into the game, Cirelli made it 2-0 at 13:32 of the first with a short-handed goal. It was the 10th short-handed score allowed by the Canadiens, who have the NHL’s second-worst power play.
The teams then combined for seven goals over the final 11:03 of the second period.
Caufield scored during a 2-on-none at 8:57 but Kucherov’s power-play goal made it 3-1 with with 8:26 to go in the period.
It was Kucherov’s second goal in his last 16 games, but the right wing has 15 assists over the stretch.
Goals by Schueneman and Anderson helped Montreal rally for the second time from a two-goal deficit. Anderson tied it at 3 on the breakaway after an errant Stamkos pass with 4:10 remaining in the second.
Point put the Lightning up 4-3 on a power-play goal with 15.6 seconds left in the second.
“Giving up chances, too many,” Point said. “Too many odd-man (rushes). Just missed assignments. I don’t feel it was fatigue or what, but just sloppy tonight.”
St. Louis, a former Lightning star and member of the 2004 Stanley Cup champion team, returned to Tampa for the first team as Montreal’s interim head coach.
“I grew up here so to speak as a young adult,” St. Louis said before the game. “It’s always going to be special for me to be in Tampa, whether I’m a coach or just somebody visiting because it’s a big part of my life.”
Montreal defenseman Joel Edmundson said the players wanted to get a victory for St. Louis.
“His first game back in Tampa you want to get him a big win,” Edmundson said. “He didn’t want to make it about him, but we did.”
Tampa Bay is 8-0-2 in the second of back to back games. ... Stamkos tied a season high with a six-game point streak (five goals, 10 points). ... Montreal is 3-32-6 when trailing after two periods. ... The Lightning are 28-1-4 when ahead entering the third.
Canadiens C Ryan Poehling (upper body) returned after missing nine games and had an assist. G Carey Price (knee) skated a couple times during the past week and the team said his rehab is going well.
Canadiens: Host Ottawa on Tuesday night.
Lightning: Host Toronto on Monday night to complete a stretch of three home games in four days.
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