Richards had three points, including an assist on Martin St.
Louis' 17th goal with 5:52 remaining in the third period to lead
the Lightning to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal
Canadiens on Thursday night.
St. Louis took a pass from Richards as he streaked down the
right side and fired a wrist shot over goalie Jeff Hackett's right
shoulder as Tampa Bay ended a four-game road trip by snapping a
three-game losing streak (0-2-0-1).
"This is huge to finish that sequence," Richards said. "When
you win a game at the end of the road trip, sometimes it brings
more momentum home. Even if we had won in Minnesota, if you lose
the last game you go home feeling a little down, but now we're
going home on a high and we can take over from there."
Nikolai Khabibulin made 18 saves for the Lightning -- winless in
six previous road games. Tampa Bay earned its first road win since
"They scored on the first shot and it was not the start that I
would like to have, especially after being pulled last game,"
Khabibulin said. "I tried to hang in there and the guys really
tried hard in front of me. They were clearing the front of the net
and I could see all the shots so that helped a lot."
Richards, who extended his point streak to six games, assisted
on Dan Boyle's power-play goal midway through the second before
scoring his fifth of the season 2:54 into the third to put the
Lightning ahead 2-1.
"We're always ready to play here," Richards said. "It's just
such a great place to play. It's not just us. Any hockey player
that comes in here wants to play, and wants to play a lot and be a
part of it. It's just the tradition, and the city, and the people --
it's fun to play here."
Montreal captain Saku Koivu scored off a goalmouth scramble 1:57
after Richards' goal to tie it at 4:51. Chad Kilger, who assisted
on Koivu's goal, opened the scoring with his third goal in four
games 5:29 in.
"I think we played hard and we played well, but the bottom line
is they came out with two points and we came out empty," Koivu
said. "It's a tough loss."
Hackett made 31 saves in his third straight start in place of
league MVP Jose Theodore, who allowed all seven goals in a 7-6
overtime loss in Colorado on Dec. 6.
"The puck was rolling a little bit and I didn't give him much
because I checked after," Hackett said about St. Louis'
game-winner. "Of course I wish I could have it again, but it was a
The Canadiens had won two straight after winning just once in
seven games (1-4-0-2).
After Kilger's third of the season put Montreal up 1-0, Boyle --
who scored twice in Tampa Bay's 5-3 loss in Minnesota on Tuesday --
got his fourth in four games. He put Vincent Lecavalier's rebound
off Hackett's blocker into an open left side.
Richards beat Hackett from the slot on an unassisted effort 2:54
into the third, but the Canadiens came back to tie it moments later
on Koivu's second effort from the edge of the crease.
Boyle went 22 games without a goal from Oct. 21 to Dec. 5.
Four of his six goals this season have come on the power play. ...
Richards has two goals and seven assists over the course of his
streak. ... Kilger had just two assists and was a healthy scratch
in seven of the Canadiens' first 25 games.