January 5, 2018 / 3:53 AM / in 2 months

Canadiens edge Lightning in shootout, snap 5-game skid

EditorsNote: fixes to “(12-2-1)” in fourth graf

Paul Byron scored in a shootout Thursday night as the Montreal Canadiens snapped a five-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning at Bell Centre.

Byron opened the shootout with the only goal of the session. Goalie Carey Price stopped all three Lightning shots he faced to preserve the victory.

Max Pacioretty scored in the second period for the Canadiens (17-20-4), who scored two goals or fewer for the sixth consecutive game. Price recorded 44 saves in regulation and overtime.

Nikita Kucherov scored in the second period for the NHL-leading Lightning (29-8-3), who lost for just the third time in 15 games (12-2-1) since Dec. 1. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded 37 saves in regulation and overtime.

With the win, the Canadiens evened the season series between the teams at a game apiece with two games to play.

After a scoreless first period, the teams traded goals in the first 64 seconds of the second.

A turnover deep in the Lightning zone led to Pacioretty’s goal just 20 seconds into the period. Tampa Bay defenseman Mikhail Sergachev tried to make a no-look clearing pass, but Pacioretty swooped in for the interception, descended upon Vasilevskiy and fired a shot into the net as Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman tried to slide into the path of the puck.

An impressive individual effort by Kucherov tied the game just 44 seconds later. Kucherov outraced teammate Steven Stamkos and Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner to a loose puck along the boards to the left of the Canadiens’ net. He then skated to the top of the faceoff circles and fired a shot that threaded a gaggle of players in front of the net and sailed under the legs of Price.

The Lightning had a 5-2 shot advantage in overtime but couldn’t beat Price.

The Canadiens continue a five-game homestand Sunday when they host the Vancouver Canucks. The Lightning play the fourth game of a five-game road trip Saturday when they visit the Ottawa Senators.

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