The Tampa Bay Lightning made themselves right at home in the team’s first road game of the season.
Thanks to Steven Stamkos, several of his teammates as well as his head coach got to enjoy their homecoming to Quebec for a few extra minutes.
Stamkos, who led the league with 24 power-play goals a season ago, brought the Lightning back from a late one-goal deficit to tie the game with the man advantage at 18:41 in the third and to ensure the Lightning at least one point by sending the contest into the extra session.
Teammate Ryan Malone took over from there, scoring the game-winner at 4:09 in overtime. The tally was the Lightning winger’s first goal since January of last season.
“I think we stuck to the game plan most of the night,” Malone said. “Everyone believed in that plan tonight so I think that was the biggest thing.”
Behind Mike Smith’s 24 saves, Tampa Bay rallied back from an early two-goal deficit and moved out to 2-0-0 on the year, marking the team’s best start to open the season since the 2007-08 campaign.
Montreal, meanwhile, playing in its home opener, lost for the second time in three games despite getting goals from Maxim Lapierre, Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn.
With the Lightning down 4-3 and under two minutes to play, Stamkos wristed a shot past goaltender Carey Price to cap the last of Tampa Bay’s three goals in regulation and the second come-from-behind effort for the Lightning, who also received scores from Brett Clark and Martin St. Louis.
Lapierre got things started at 5:22 in the first after Lightning defenseman Mike Vernace turned the puck over along the boards as he attempted to clear the zone.
Plekanec doubled the lead just before the first horn sounded, firing the puck into an empty net after Mike Cammalleri pulled Mike Smith out of position before sending a pass across the slot to his Montreal teammate.
“They just came out harder than us,” Lightning forward Sean Bergenheim said.
Clark fired a slap shot from the top of the point that deflected off two Montreal players before caroming into the net to put the Lightning on the board, sparking the first of two unanswered Tampa Bay goals that were capped by St. Louis’ game-tying tally at 10:54 in the final frame.
“To get our team back in the game with a goal, it was exciting,” Clark said. “We just had to get some shots to the net. We just threw some there and we were fortunate to get one in.”
Montreal re-took the lead when Kostitsyn made it 3-2 with a shot past Smith just 33 seconds later, but Tampa Bay scored twice within the game’s final five minutes to pull out the victory.
“I think our guys compete really hard,” General Manager Steve Yzerman said. “This is going to be a good [road] trip for us to get a better assessment of our team and what the coaches want to accomplish out there.”
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