TAMPA, Fla. – The Montreal Canadiens and thousands of their fans enjoyed the team’s quick trip to Florida.
Maxim Lapierre scored the winning shootout goal, and the Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Tuesday night.
The Canadiens won the shootout 2-1 to complete a two-game, two-day sweep in the Sunshine State that featured a large turnout of supporters chanting “Let’s go Habs” in both games.
“We have a pretty big following no matter where we go,” Canadiens goalie Carey Price said. “It seems like whenever we’re in an opposition rink, there’s at least 5,000 strong that are rooting for us. It definitely gives you a boost when you’re in an opposition rink.”
Montreal beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 on Monday.
Guillaume Latendresse scored Montreal’s goal in regulation. The Canadiens have won five of six.
Vaclav Prospal scored for the Lightning, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
“The last four or five games, we have been playing much better,” Tampa Bay forward Jussi Jokinen said. “We have to get going in the right direction and picking up points.”
Prospal put the Lightning ahead with a power-play goal at 13:18 of the first period. It was his first point in 10 games.
Latendresse tied it when his rebound backhander was redirected in off Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith 46 seconds into the third.
The Canadiens nearly won it in the final seconds of regulation, but Andrei Kostitsyn’s shot hit the post.
Montreal is 4-7-1 when trailing after two periods.
“We’re playing really well defensively,” Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. “Sometimes when you do that, you find ways to win games. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now.”
Both goalies made big saves during overtime. Price stopped an in-close chance by Evgeny Artyukhin with three minutes remaining, and Smith made a diving glove save on Lapierre 90 seconds later.
“It came down to the shootout,” Price said. “That could have went either way.”
Montreal left-winger Alex Tanguay left in the first after being checked hard into the boards by Artyukhin. The Canadiens said Tanguay, who skated to the bench after the hit, has an upper body injury and is expected to undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday.
Tampa Bay forward Ryan Malone helped set up Prospal’s goal, giving him five assists and six points in three games. Martin St. Louis has four assists and five points in two games for the Lightning.
Notes: Lightning RW Mark Recchi played in his 1,446th NHL game, tying him with Hall of Famer Tim Horton for 17th place on the league’s career list. … Lapierre, who had three goals in the Canadiens’ victory on Monday, assisted on Latendresse’s goal. … Tampa Bay D Marek Malik didn’t play because of flu-like symptoms. … The Lightning signed G Dustin Tokarski to a standard three-year, entry-level contract. Tokarski is currently playing for Team Canada at the world junior championship. … Tampa Bay (10-16-10) has lost 16 of 21 games decided by one goal.