TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Unfortunately for the Montreal
Canadiens, Vincent Lecavalier still is a member of the Tampa Bay
Lecavalier and fellow All-Star Martin St. Louis each recorded a
goal and an assist as the Lightning scored three times in the
second period Tuesday en route to a 5-3 victory over the
Ryan Malone, Vaclav Prospal and Steve Downie also tallied for
Tampa Bay, which has won three straight games and slowly is
climbing the Eastern Conference standings.
Mike Smith made 31 saves for the Lightning, who went 4-1-0 over
their five-game homestand.
"When those guys (Lecavalier and St. Louis) score, we're going
to be in a lot of games," Smith said. "Those were big goals
from both of them tonight."
Maxim Lapierre scored twice and All-Star Game MVP Alexei Kovalev
also tallied for the Canadiens, who have been rumored to be
interested in acquiring Lecavalier for months.
"To end up scoring five goals against a pretty good team makes
it a lot more special," Prospal said. "There were a lot of
games at the beginning of the season where we had chances and
couldn't score, and right now, we seem to capitalize on the
chances, and that makes a difference on whether you win or
The Lightning have insisted they will not trade their captain,
and Lecavalier continues to say he is happy in Tampa Bay. The
28-year-old, whose 11-year, $85-million contract extension goes
into effect next season, proved his worth in this one.
A native of Ile Bizard, Quebec, Lecavalier tied the contest at
2-2 at 2:49 of the middle session. After taking a pass from St.
Louis, Lecavalier appeared to be heading behind the net but
instead unleashed a quick wrist shot over All-Star goaltender
Carey Price for a power-play goal.
The Lightning took the lead on Prospal's 12th of the season with
5:03 left in the second, and Downie banked in a shot off
Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik's skate from behind the net
to make it 4-2.
"We didn't have a good first period, but the good thing about it
is, they responded in the second period," Tampa Bay interim
coach Rick Tocchet said. "To me, that's a sign of a team that's
coming together, and I'm proud of the guys.
"We can't afford any more losses. We're a long way away from
where we want to be, but there's some light at the end of the
St. Louis converted a give-and-go with Lecavalier midway through
the third period, firing a wrist shot past Price with 8:56 to go
to extend Tampa Bay's advantage.
Lapierre netted his second goal of the night just 22 seconds
later, but Montreal did not mount a serious scoring threat for
the rest of the contest.
"We haven't played well," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said.
"We started the game on a right note. We had really good
chances to bury them early, but we let them come back.
"Our goalies are going to have to be stronger. We can't win
games giving up four or five goals every game, and that's the
way it's been over the last two or three weeks."
Price stopped 19 shots for the Canadiens, who outshot the
Lightning by a 20-7 margin in the first period.
"We couldn't get a bounce," Price said. "They brought it. They
played a pretty solid game. They played physical and got a few