Habs sweep the south with 4-2 win over Lightning

Canadiens 4 Lightning 2

Game Summary | Stat sheet

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Lightning recap from Raw Charge

Max Pacioretty had a pair of goals, and Hal Gill scored his second in two games, as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 for their fourth straight victory.

Carey Price made 43 saves on the night for his 31st win of the season and allowed a total of four goals in three games against the Lightning, Florida Panthers and Atlanta Thrashers. Expect a Three Stars of the Week citiation for the Habs netminder come Monday.

The Canadiens sit just a single point back of the Washington Capitals for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The three game southern sweep gives the Canadiens a more respectable 16-15-1 record on the road this season.

Montreal jumped to an early two goal lead, when Gill blasted a shot from the blue line that eluded

Dwayne Roloson

. Canadiens captain

Brian Gionta

assisted on the goal, playing in his 600th career NHL game.

The Lightning netminder had to be sharp through the first period, where it easily could have been 4-0. The home team played very sloppy in their own end through the first period, and a bad turnover behind ther net led to Andrei Kostitsyn feeding David Desharnais for his eighth goal of the season. Kostitsyn now has eight points in his last six games.

Dominic Moore and Pacioretty exchanged power play goals, for their respective clubs, at opposite ends of the second period, as Tampa began to turn things around in the second frame.

Pacioretty's second goal of the night, at 1:18 of the third was the result of a perfect Canadiens transition, finished off by a perfect pass from Scott Gomez. The Habs center silenced his critics on this night, playing on of his best games of the season. Anyone remember how No. 11 played, from about this point on last year?

The Lightning found themselves with their best opportunity to get back in the game with an 88-second two-man advantage. A huge poke check by Price of the stick of Simon Gagne set the tone of the Montreal penalty kill, that allowed just two shots on goal.

Vincent Lecavalier got his team back within two goals, after he was left with some room to roof a shot past Price with 5:53 left to play. Unfortunately it would be the closest the Lightning would get, as the clock wound down.

Tomas Plekanec had two assists on the evening, and Roman Hamrlik blocked five Lightning shots.

The Lightning have now lost three straight, and their once powerful hold on the Southeast Division remains at just a single point over Washington.

The Canadiens picked up a point on the Boston Bruins, who lost in OT earlier in the evening, and sit five points out of the Northeast Division lead. The two teams meet in a pivotal four-point game back at the Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Three Stars:1. Max Pacioretty 2. Carey Price 3, Scott Gomez

Scoring Summary

First Period

1, MTL - Hall Gill - B. Gionta, T. Plekanec  5:27

2. MTL - PPG David Desharnais - A. Kostitsyn, 8:41

Second Period

3. TBL - PPG Dominic Moore  - P. Kubina, T. Purcell

4. MON - PPG Max Pacioretty - T. Plekanec, P.K. Subban

Third Period

5. MON - Max Pacioretty - S. Gomez 1:18

6. TBL - Vincent Lecavalier - D. Moore, T. Purcell 14:07

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