Canadiens Vs. Lightning: Habs Unable to Hang On To Early Lead, Fall 4-3

The Montreal Canadians looked to cool off a Lighting club that has recently been dominant at the St. Pete Times forum, but could not hang on to an early 3-1 lead.

After finally getting a win for head coach Randy Cunneyworth, the Montreal Canadiens headed to warmer climes to reacquaint themselves with their future divisional opponents in Tampa Bay.

With the Lightning winning three of their previous five games, including their last two games at home, they appeared ready to pick up where they had left off when Steven Stamkos tipped in a Pavel Kubina point shot.

The Habs would not be dismissed quite so easily, and turned up the pressure on Mathieu Garon and the Lightning D until Brett Clark was whistled for a trip on rookie Louis Leblanc.

David Desharnais did the majority of the work on the Montreal power play, carrying the puck into the zone and setting up an opportunity from the point before grabbing the loose puck behind the net. Circling behind Garon, Desharnais spotted Michael Cammalleri and set the sniper up with a perfect opportunity, giving no time for Garon or the Tampa PK to react to the new threat.

After playing such a large role in creating the tying goal, Desharnais put the Canadiens up 2-1 when he took the puck into the Tampa zone early in the second period. Finding a good shooting lane, the Quebec native took a shot from the right faceoff circle that banked off of Garon's goal stick and into the net.

Erik Cole extended the Montreal lead with a nice tip in front of the net just past the midway point of the second period, and things seemed to be well in hand for the visiting team when the momentum suddenly began to shift.

It would be a former Canadiens prospect, JT Wyman, who dropped the first pebble onto the landslide. Carrying the puck in as time wound down in the second period, Wyman fired a shot that initially appeared to be trapped under Carey Price's pads, but the puck trickled through and cross the goal line before the referee blew his whistle to stop play.

The goal was reviewed to confirm that it had completely crossed the goal line, and the ruling of a good goal meant that Wyman had scored his first NHL goal against his former team, bringing them within a goal as they went into the locker room for the second intermission.

The Lightning continued to skate with the Canadiens, and their efforts paid off a few minutes into the final frame when Marc-Andre Bergeron tipped a Steve Downie shot into the net.

This goal also required video review over concerns of Bergeron's stick being above the crossbar, but the war room's evaluation determined it too was a good goal, and the game was tied once again.

Wyman also collected his first NHL assist in this game, bumping a loose puck over to Vincent Lecavalier during a goal mouth scramble. The Lightning captain had a wide open net for his thirteenth goal of the season, and the comeback was complete.

Montreal was given an opportunity to tie the game once again when Tampa's Bruno Gervais was sent off for delay of game with just under two minutes left, but Garon and the Tampa PK were able to withstand the 6 on 4 assault, carrying through for their third home win in a row.

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