Final

Series (Game 2 of 4)

Montreal leads 3-1

Game 1: Wednesday, November 15th
Canadiens3Final
Lightning1
Game 2: Thursday, December 14th
Lightning2Final
Canadiens4
Game 3: Saturday, December 30th
Canadiens1Final
Lightning3
Game 4: Tuesday, January 2nd
Lightning2Final
Canadiens5

Lightning 2

(14-16-2, 30 pts)

Canadiens 4

(18-8-5, 41 pts)

7:30 PM ET, December 14, 2006

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 T
TB 1 1 02
MTL 1 0 34

C. Huet (Canadiens - G): Saves: 41, Save Pct.: .953

M. St. Louis (Lightning - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

S. Koivu (Canadiens - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

Huet provides spark as Canadiens strike down Lightning

MONTREAL (AP) -- Cristobal Huet left the Tampa Bay Lightning wondering what they need to do to get another win.

Huet made 41 saves, and Saku Koivu scored twice in the third period as the Montreal Canadiens came back for a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Elias Says
Saku Koivu
Koivu
Saku Koivu, playing in his 600th NHL game, scored two goals to lead the Canadiens to a 4-2 come-from-behind win over Tampa Bay. Koivu, a native of Finland who has spent his entire career with Montreal, is the 37th player in franchise history to reach the 600-game plateau but only the second non-Canadian to appear in 600 games for Les Canadiens. Sweden's Mats Naslund played 617 games from Montreal from 1982-83 through 1989-90.

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The Montreal goalie, who caught a break when Eric Perrin's goal late in the third period was waved off, stopped 17 of 18 shots in the first, 14 of 15 in the second, and all 10 in the third. The Lightning finished with a 43-20 advantage overall.

"I'm worried about my team. You need to get rewarded when you dominate the way we did tonight, so I'm frustrated for them," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "We completely dominated them except for one guy, Huet, and that was obviously the difference tonight."

After Montreal rookie Maxim Lapierre scored his first NHL goal 6:38 into the third to tie it at 2, Koivu picked up Alex Kovalev's drop pass and beat Marc Denis with a wrist shot from the right side for the Canadiens' NHL-leading 10th short-handed goal -- their second of the game -- at 13:34 to put make it 3-2.

"I don't think we played that well in the first two periods and they came out strong," Koivu said. "Even though they got a lot of shots, I thought the defense was doing a good job in front of (Huet). But he made it look pretty easy with those saves, and he made a couple of key saves to keep us in the game, and then in the third we were able to turn things around a bit."

Perrin's goal at 16:33 was disallowed following a lengthy video review -- the second of the game. The red light went on after Perrin punched at the puck while driving the net.

The sold-out crowd of 21,273 erupted in cheers when referee Dan Marouelli finally confirmed his original call, waving his arms to signal "no goal" after the review determined that the puck never crossed the goal line after striking the right post.

Koivu added an empty-net goal at 19:14 for Montreal, which earned points in the standings for the fifth straight game (3-0-2).

"Against a talented team like that, you've got to come up with one or two big saves," said Huet, who made highlight-reel stops against Vincent Lecavalier and Filip Kuba.

Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis scored for Tampa Bay, which has lost three straight and seven of eight.

"We played in their zone the whole game," said Lecavalier, robbed by Huet's glove save in the first before he assisted on St. Louis' goal late in the second which put Tampa Bay up 2-1. "We definitely should have got that one, especially when it was 2-1.

"We should have got that third goal, but Huet made some very big saves and that kind of changed our momentum."

Mark Streit finished off a fine play by Sheldon Souray for Montreal's ninth short-handed goal of the season 8:29 in to put the Canadiens up 1-0.

Richards tied it on the power play at 13:39.

Huet made his second sensational save of the game during the second of consecutive Tampa Bay power plays midway through the second. The Montreal goalie flung out his right pad to stop Kuba's shot at what had been a wide open left side as the other goal judge was also fooled into turning on the red light.

"He's a goalie who's not going to quit on any play, and a lot of times he steals goals from a player when they think it's in," Koivu said.

St. Louis gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead 18:42 into the second with his 19th goal on the Lightning's fourth power play of the period.

Lapierre scored his first NHL goal 6:38 into the third to tie it at 2. Recalled from Hamilton of the AHL on Monday for the second time this season, the 21-year-old Montreal native deflected Mike Komisarek's shot from the right point past Denis despite being closely covered by Lightning captain Tim Taylor.

"I knew he was behind me, but I think he forgot my (stick) blade, so I was free and I just tipped the puck," Lapierre said.

Game notes


It was Canadiens captain Saku Koivu's 600th NHL game. ... Montreal has sold out 76 consecutive regular-season games. ... D Janne Niinimaa and RW Aaron Downey were healthy scratches for Montreal. ... Lapierre, who has played three games overall, had an assist for his first career point in Tuesday's 4-3 win over Boston.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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