TAMPA, Fla. â€” Two days after clinching a playoff spot, the Montreal Canadiens virtually locked up a division title.
Alexander Radulov scored 51 seconds into overtime to lift the Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
Phillip Danault also scored and Carey Price stopped 21 shots for the Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens, who hold an eight point advantage over Toronto and Ottawa entering the final week of the regular season.
The Canadiens were locked in Saturday after securing a
“You don’t know what to expect in that situation but it definitely was no letdown,” said Montreal’s Max Pacioretty, who had two assists. “Responded well to an emotional night. To come out tonight and kind of put that behind us, just worry about our own game, it’s pretty impressive.”
Radulov scored from the right circle on the game-winner. It was his first NHL overtime goal since Feb. 2, 2008.
“I think we played a good game and deserved to win,” Redulov said.
Yanni Gourde scored for the Lightning and Andrei Vasilevskiy had 34 saves. Tampa Bay dropped four points behind Boston for the second Eastern Conference wild-card.
“I just look at it as a complete positive because we got a point out of a game that they were better than us,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “There’s not much wiggle room left but not getting a point out of that game would have been devastating.”
Tampa Bay has five games left, one more than the Bruins.
Gourde got a goal in his third straight game, coming on a redirection of Victor Hedman’s shot tying it at 1 at 11:38 of the third. The forward has four goals in 17 career games.
I think we played better in the third period, and I think that was the game we should brought right away the first period,” Gourde said.
Danault put a back-hander past Vasilevskiy with 5:36 left in the second to open the scoring after Hedman lost the puck near the Lightning net. Pacioretty got his 200th assist with Montreal on Danault’s goal.
A potential go-ahead goal by Montreal’s Jeff Petry with 3:38 left in the third was disallowed due to incidental conduct by Andreas Martinsen on Vasilevskiy. Andrew Shaw hit the crossbar earlier in the period.
Vasilevskiy stopped Dwight King’s breakaway shot early in the first, and Brendan Gallagher’s in-close chance during a second-period power play.
Montreal outshot the Lightning 17-6 during the second.
Price had a nice save on Nikita Kucherov’s rebound try in the second, and turned aside Brayden Point’s breakaway shot later in the period.
Kucherov, who has 38 goals and 80 points, returned after missing Thursday’s 5-3 win over Detroit with illness.
NOTES: Tampa Bay C Steven Stamkos, out since right knee surgery in November, continues practicing and remains day to day. … Montreal C Torrey Mitchell didn’t play due to illness. … Lightning C Tyler Johnson sat out his 11th consecutive game with a lower-body injury.
Canadiens: Play the second of three straight road games Monday night at Florida.
Lightning: Complete a four-game homestand Sunday night against Dallas.
Mark Didtler, The Associated Press