Brandon Hagel’s hat trick boosts Lightning past Canadiens

Dec 28, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jordan Harris (54) skate after the puck during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Hagel produced his second career hat trick, including the tiebreaking goal in the third period, to carry the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-3 win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

In his 200th NHL game, the top-line left winger redirected in a long shot by Mikhail Sergachev at 5:58 for the game-winner.

He tallied into an empty net for the hatty, notching his career-high 27th goal with 44 seconds remaining.

Tampa Bay (42-22-6, 90 points) also got goals from Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos. Nikita Kucherov reached the 99-point mark with two assists, and Sergachev had two as well.

Goaltender Brian Elliott (11-5-2) stopped 18 shots as the Lightning won their third straight match and moved to 5-1-1 in their past seven.
For Montreal (27-37-6, 60 points), Mike Hoffman had a goal and an assist, Denis Gurianov scored and Jesse Ylonen had a power-play marker. Nick Suzuki dealt two helpers.

After allowing three goals in Thursday’s 9-5 loss at the Florida Panthers, Sam Montembeault started again and made 36 saves.

This season, the Canadiens are 0-3-0 against Tampa Bay and 1-7-2 in their past 10 games.

On a weekend when former players Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and franchise founder Phil Esposito were inducted in the inaugural class of the Lightning Hall of Fame, coach St. Louis’ Canadiens rubbed some of the shine off the pregame ceremony at center ice.

Off a cross-ice pass from Suzuki through the slot, Hoffman sent his 12th goal through Elliott’s pads 5:12 into the Atlantic Division rivals’ third meeting of four this season.

However, Hedman evened it by answering for the home side when he skated through the slot and fired in his seventh tally past Montembeault’s blocker side at 11:31.

In a wide-open second period, Hagel grabbed a rebound off the end boards and hit the net on a sharp-angle shot that banked in off the Habs’ goalie at 4:50.

But less than two minutes later, Gurianov drilled his seventh goal — his fifth in 11 games since being acquired from the Dallas Stars for Russian countryman Evgenii Dadonov on Feb. 26.

With just three seconds left on their first power play, the Habs went up when Ylonen one-timed a scorcher for his fifth tally and a 3-2 edge.

On the power play early in the third, Stamkos tied the game at 3:14 with his 30th goal.

–Field Level Media

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