Ondrej Palat notched the game-winning goal with 38 seconds to play as the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning scored a pair late to rally for a 3-2 win over the injury-riddled Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
Montreal led 2-1 with three minutes remaining, but after Corey Perry tied it at 17:51 with goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy on the bench, Palat grabbed a feed from Alex Killorn and flipped in the winning marker.
Pat Maroon also tallied for the Lightning, who won their fourth straight and improved 8-2-2 on the road.
Vasilevskiy made 21 saves to improve to 12-1-2 in his career against the Canadiens.
Montreal’s Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist to give him 100 career points, and Mike Hoffman netted once.
Canadiens defenseman David Savard — who was greeted by the Lightning before the game and received his Stanley Cup ring from the reigning champions — recorded an assist.
Montreal’s Jake Allen was strong in goal but surrendered three tallies on 27 shots.
With injuries and recent COVID-19 issues gutting the roster, Montreal had numerous players sidelined. Filling the vacancies were forward Laurent Dauphin and defenseman Kale Clague — both playing making their Canadiens debut.
It may have been billed as a Stanley Cup rematch, but the teams were at opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings at puck drop: The Lightning 9-2-1 in their past 12 games, Montreal having won just six times all season and never in consecutive games.
A waiver acquisition from the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, Clague struggled in his debut midway through the opening period of the teams’ first meeting since the visitors claimed their third championship on July 7 — beating Montreal in five games in the Stanley Cup Final.
Possessing the puck behind the Montreal cage, Clague erred by half-whiffing on an outlet pass, with the weak attempt going right to Maroon. The big winger then popped in his sixth goal, an unassisted tally, for 1-0 lead at 10:31.
Early in the second period, Savard passed a puck on a three-on-two rush to Suzuki, who deposited his sixth to tie it.
In just his second game back from injury, Hoffman fired home the puck after a faceoff win by Suzuki, slipping it inside the near post for a 2-1 lead at 7:08 of the middle period.
Montreal lost Christian Dvorak to an injury in the second frame.
–Field Level Media