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Vinny Prospal ends 20-game goal-scoring drought as Lightning top Habs 3-1

Prospal ended a personal 20-game goal-scoring drought with a tiebreaking second-period goal, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Saturday night.

"It's just a great feeling to score," Prospal said.

Brad Richards and Filip Kuba also scored for the Lightning, who outshot Montreal 41-13. Tampa Bay was coming off a 4-3 loss Thursday to Philadelphia, which had lost 10 straight and has the NHL's worst record.

"I thought we made a pretty good statement tonight with the 60-minute effort," Prospal said. "It showed on the shots and it showed on the scoreboard with the final result."

The Canadiens' record for fewest shots in a game is 12, coming twice against Ottawa - on Jan. 26, 2006 and Dec. 27, 2002.

Montreal goalie Cristobal Huet made 38 saves. Alexander Perezhogin scored for the Canadiens.

"We just didn't respond," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "I don't know if it's that we're tired, or just not prepared to battle."

Tampa Bay goalie Johan Holmqvist turned aside 12 shots, including a glove save on Saku Koivu with 20.1 seconds to play.

"They just really outskated us tonight," Koivu said. "Not a good performance by us."

Prospal gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead on his backhander from near the goal-line between the net and the boards with 13 minutes left in the second. It was his first goal since Nov. 15, which also came against Montreal.

Kuba made it 3-1 on the power play at 7:07 of the third.

Huet kept the Canadiens in the game by stopping 22 of 23 shots in the first. The only goal he allowed came on Richards' rebound during a power play at 11:28.

"I tried to help the team, but I'm never satisfied when we lose the game," Huet said. "You always think you can do something better."

The 23 shots allowed by Montreal during the first were a season-high. The Canadiens tied a season-low by taking just three shots in the opening period.

"A lot of blocked shots tonight," Tampa Bay defenceman Dan Boyle said. "That was part of it. The biggest part to me was having control of the puck in their zone and keeping them there. They can't shoot the puck in our net if they don't have the puck on their sticks."

Montreal tied it 1-1 when Perezhogin scored on the Canadiens' first shot of the second at 2:07. It was his first goal in 12 games.

Huet stopped 11 more shots in the second, including Vincent Lecavalier during a 3-on-1.

"That's probably one of the better games I've seen Tampa play in a long time," Montreal defenceman Craig Rivet said. "Right from the drop of the puck, they were by far the best team. We tried real hard to give ourselves a chance to get back in the second period, which we did, but they pushed through in the third period."

Notes: The most shots allowed by Montreal during one period since 1955 is 24, which has occurred four times. ... Philadelphia claimed LW Dmitry Afanasenkov off waivers from the Lightning. ... Lightning D Paul Ranger (hand) was out of the lineup. ... The Canadiens, who entered with the NHL's top-ranked power-play, went 0-for-2 with the man advantage. Tampa Bay was 2-for-5 on the power play.



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