Montreal (20-9-6) at Tampa Bay (10-16-9), 7:30 p.m. EST
TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Alexei Kovalev finally scoring again
and the Montreal Canadiens are winning as a result.
Kovalev and the Canadiens seek their third straight victory when
they visit the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
After posting a 35-goal and 85-point campaign in 2007-08,
Kovalev has struggled mightily on the offensive end this season.
The 16-year veteran has nine goals and 19 assists thus far but
may have found a spark, netting a key goal in Montreal's 5-2
triumph over the Florida Panthers on Monday.
The Russian has picked up nine points in his last nine games and
ended a 19-game goalless drought in the process.
Though coach Guy Carbonneau had to be encouraged by Kovalev's
contribution, Maxim Lapierre stole the show Monday by recording
his first career hat trick in Montreal's 3,000th all-time
With the victory, the Canadiens have now won four of their last
five games. Before that stretch, they dropped four of five and
fell in the standings of the tight Eastern Conference.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has won three straight contests after
notching victories twice in 19 games.
In the Lightning's latest game, captain Vincent Lecavalier
scored two second-period goals and set up another and Martin St.
Louis tallied and had three assists in a 6-4 win over the
Panthers on Saturday.
Ryan Malone recorded a goal and set up two others and Jussi
Jokinen notched two assists for the Lightning, whose only other
winning streak this season came when they won three in a row
from October 28-November 1.