MONTREAL – The Tampa Bay Lightning fought off the brunt of the Canadiens' physical play and focused on the important divisional matchup at hand, which resulted in a 2-1 overtime win at Bell Centre Saturday in Montreal.
"We really pushed the pace the whole game," Thompson said. "We were on top of them the whole night and we didn't give them much, except maybe one power play, and we really played a complete game. We deserved to win."
"We've done a really good job this year of stopping the bleeding," head coach Jon Cooper said. "We haven't dropped a pair in a row a lot this year, to lose three times in a row would have been rare, so the guys dug deep."
With Bishop returning just two days removed from a scary collision Thursday with teammate Nikita Kucherov, things got a little chippy with him and the Habs' Brandon Prust. Despite both sides getting more involved after the dispute the Lightning kept their composure and capitalized on the opportunities they had against the Canadiens Olympic-bound goaltender Carey Price.
"The first goal I was actually trying to hit J.T. Brown back door and the last one was just a good play by Victor Hedman," Thompson said. "It feels pretty good. Whenever you can get a win, especially an overtime win in Montreal, it's big."
Bishop's 27th win of the season came with a sigh of relief as his status heading into this afternoon was too be determined until the conclusion of warm-ups.
Early in the first period, Kucherov was able to get a shot off on a breakaway, while being hooked, at 4:41 of the first period. Price made the save. Kucherov was then awarded a penalty shot, which the Habs goaltender stopped again, to keep the game scoreless through 20 minutes of play.
Then after failing to score on the power play early in the second, the Lightning immediately went on the penalty kill for an interference call on Alex Killorn. Just 18 seconds into the kill, Thompson tried to feed the puck to Brown in the Canadiens' zone, but P.K. Subban reached his stick out to block the pass and inadvertently scored on his own net to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead at 5:58.
Before the end of the middle frame, Prust instigated and speared Bishop in front of his crease during a TV timeout. The spear sparked Bishop who threw a punch and caused both teams to react accordingly.
"The game had a little bit of everything in it and it didn't end up having an ill effect on the games coming up down the stretch, so no harm, no foul," Cooper said.
Daniel Briere tied the score at the 7:25 mark of the third period. All alone in the left face-off circle, Brian Gionta sent Briere a pass, who finished with the game-tying goal stick side on Bishop. The 1-1 score at the end of regulation forced overtime for the third time this season between the two clubs. Both prior meetings were decided by a 2-1 score as well.
With 1:05 left in the final period Montreal was awarded a power play that carried over into overtime, however the Bolts killed off the Habs' man advantage.
In the final minute of play in overtime, Gionta passed to Subban in front of Bishop's net, but Bishop quickly dropped his glove over the puck and stopped play with 58.5 seconds remaining. Soon after Thompson received a pass from Hedman from behind the net, and potted his second marker of the game to lift the Lightning to their first road win this trip, and with just 23.1 seconds remaining before a shootout was to decide the game.
UP NEXT – Tampa Bay heads to the Twin Cities to face the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night for the fourth and final game of the Lightning's road swing. They will then travel back to the Tampa Bay Times Forum for two home games against Atlantic Division rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, Thursday and Saturday. Saturday's contest is the last matchup prior to the NHL breaking for the 2014 Winter Olympics.