Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay
Lightning
44-33-5
Montréal
Canadiens
42-34-6

43 SOG
20 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
TBL
MTL
game preview

Lightning-Canadiens Preview

Thursday, 12.14.2006 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

Sergei Samsonov's breakout play helped the Montreal Canadiens continue winning, even in the wake of tragedy.

After ending a 19-game goal drought, Samsonov leads the Canadiens as they try to extend a four-game unbeaten streak in regulation when they host the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

Samsonov ended his scoreless streak on a night Montreal (17-8-5) desperately tried to turn its thoughts back to playing hockey.

Samsonov scored twice and David Aebischer made 31 saves, leading Montreal to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.

The sellout crowd of 21,273 gave a standing ovation before the game in honor of Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey's daughter Laura Gainey, who was lost at sea Friday when she was swept off a sailing ship into the Atlantic Ocean by a rogue wave.

Hope of finding her faded Monday night when an extensive aerial search was called off.

Gainey has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the team, with assistant general manager Pierre Gauthier handling his duties.

Samsonov, who hadn't scored since Oct. 28, has eight goals and six assists on the season.

"Obviously when things aren't going your way, you try to press a little more," Samsonov said. "Sometimes it's good just to step away a little bit and try to relax, and just go out and play hard. I've played like that for the last week or so. I just had to stop concentrating on scoring and play my game, and the results will come."

Andrei Markov and Guillaume Latendresse also scored for the Canadiens, who have not lost in regulation in four games (2-0-2).

Sheldon Souray scored a pair of man-advantage goals, helping the Canadiens beat the Lightning (14-15-2) 3-1 on Nov. 15. He missed Tuesday's game with a jammed right wrist, though, and is day-to-day.

Souray leads Montreal with 11 goals.

Tampa Bay has lost six of seven to move under .500 for the first time since Nov. 4, when it was 6-7-1. The Lightning blew a two-goal lead Tuesday night in a 5-4 loss to Toronto.

"We can't wilt during games, it's about letting teams surge on us and knowing how to stop it," Tampa Bay center Brad Richards said. "We have to mentally nip this thing and keep working hard. We know good things are going to happen for us, we have to believe that. But we have to nip this thing because it's miserable right now."

Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Richards and Nikita Alexeev all scored for the Lightning.

With a goal and two assists, Lecavalier exented his points streak to seven games. He has eight goals and six assists in that span.

Richards has three goals in his last three games.

Johan Holmqvist stopped 20 shots in his third consecutive loss since winning eight of nine starts in November. He has never faced the Canadiens.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 02 '07TBL 2 at MTL 5T. Plekanec
Dec 30 '06MTL 1 at TBL 3V. Prospal
Dec 14 '06TBL 2 at MTL 4S. Koivu
Nov 15 '06MTL 3 at TBL 1S. Souray
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%