Mar 30, 2015 10:38 PM
Lightning clinch playoff berth with 5-3 win at Montreal
The Associated Press
MONTREAL (AP) Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop had two assists, Vladislav Namestnikov scored two goals, and the Lightning clinched an Eastern Conference playoff berth with a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.
Bishop started plays that set up breakaway goals by Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin in the second period. Nikita Kucherov and Anton Stralman also scored for Tampa Bay, which trails Atlantic Division-leading Montreal by one point.
The Lightning won all five games this season against the Canadiens, outscoring them 21-8. Montreal swept Tampa Bay in the first round of last year's playoffs.
Bishop, who made 25 saves, is the first goalie with two assists in a game since Buffalo's Ryan Miller did it on Feb. 25, 2014.
The NHL record of three was set by Calgary's Jeff Reese against San Jose on Feb. 10, 1993.
Max Pacioretty, Jeff Petry and P.K. Subban scored for Montreal, which was outshot 31-13 through two one-sided periods and 44-28 overall. Carey Price stopped 39 shots.
The Canadiens managed to keep it close until Stralman's empty-net goal in the final minute.
Only 1:24 into the second, Bishop caught Montreal on a line change, and he hit Steven Stamkos with a pass to the far blue line to send Namestnikov in alone.
Pacioretty tied it with a short-handed goal at 4:24 when he one-timed Tomas Plekanec's pass.
Another Bishop stretch pass help Drouin break in alone, and he deked Price at 4:47. The Lightning intercepted a clearing attempt, and Kucherov swiped Namestnikov's pass in at 18:07.
Petry scored from the point 23 seconds into the third period, but Ondrej Palat sent Namestnikov in to beat Price with a wrist shot at 6:21 to make it 4-2.
Subban set up a wild finish when he fired a shot in from the point on a power play with 3:50 left.
Price fell short in his bid to tie Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden for the Canadiens record of 42 wins in a season.
NOTES: The Lightning were without defensemen Jason Garrison, who is out 3-to-4 weeks, and Andrej Sustr, who will be sidelined for 1-to-2 weeks, and C Tyler Johnson, who is day-to-day. They all have upper-body injuries. ... Tampa Bay sent C Jonathan Marchessault to AHL Syracuse. ... Montreal scratched RW Devante Smith-Pelley and D Sergei Gonchar. Tom Gilbert is day-to-day because of a fractured jaw.