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Lighting take aim at 6th straight win vs. Habs

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to stretch their longest winning streak of the season to six games when they welcome the Montreal Canadiens for Saturday's Atlantic Division battle at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Lightning have posted a season-high five straight wins and hope to extend the hot streak in their first game following the league's Christmas break. The tear has helped push Tampa into second place in the Atlantic, where it trails Boston by five points and is two ahead of third-place Montreal.

Tampa last played on Monday when it slammed the rival Florida Panthers, 6-1, in Sunrise to post the club's first five-game winning streak since Jan. 22- Feb. 1 of last season.

Martin St. Louis had one goal and two assists and J.T. Brown added a pair of goals as the Lightning pounded the Panthers at BB&T Center. Valtteri Filppula had one goal and assist and Victor Hedman had three helpers for the Lightning.

Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn added one goal apiece and Ben Bishop made 28 saves in the win. The Lightning will try to record six straight wins tonight for the first time since a seven-game winning streak from Jan. 17-Feb. 4, 2012.

St. Louis' three-point night on Monday extend his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists during the run and is leading Tampa with 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists) in 37 games this season.

"I don't know if we've had a better player over the last eight games than No. 26," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said of St. Louis.

Bishop expects to get the call in net tonight and is 3-1-1 with a 1.81 goals against average in six career outings against Montreal.

Tampa, which boasts a superb 14-3-1 record on home ice this season, will welcome the New York Rangers on Sunday.

Montreal hasn't played since posting a 4-3 overtime win last Saturday in Nashville. David Desharnais' unassisted goal 1:43 into overtime lifted the Canadiens to the close win in Music City, after Montreal wasted a three-goal cushion.

The Canadiens coughed up a 3-0 lead over the last two periods but were saved by Desharnais, who collided with Mattias Ekholm at the left boards and plucked the puck from the Predators defenseman before rifling a slapshot past Carter Hutton from the left circle.

Instead of walking away with just a point -- or worse, empty-handed -- the Canadiens secured the two points they looked to have safely wrapped up early on.

"We definitely didn't want to come out on the losing end of that one," said Montreal goaltender Carey Price, who had 31 saves.

P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec also scored for the Canadiens, who won for just the third time in seven games.

Montreal is playing the third test of a six-game road trip on Saturday and is 10-6-1 as the guest this season. The Habs will continue their swing by remaining in the Sunshine State for Sunday's test against the Panthers.

Tampa recorded a 2-1 shootout win when it visited the Canadiens in Montreal on Nov. 12 for the first of four meetings between the clubs this season. That win halted a four-game series' losing streak for the Bolts and Montreal has claimed five of seven overall.

The Canadiens have posted wins in each of their last two trips to Tampa.

Price is 9-6-3 with a 2.45 GAA in 18 career starts against the Lightning, while Habs backup Peter Budaj is 2-1-0 with a 3.36 GAA over three lifetime appearances versus Tampa.

12/28 10:44:48 ET

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Schedule

Friday, April 18Full Scoreboard
Montreal 4/18 7:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay @theRink | TV: CNBC, CBC, RDS, FSN-FL
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Montreal leads series, 1-0.
Detroit 4/18 7:30 PM ET
Boston @theRink | TV: NBCSN, TSN, FSN-DET, NESN
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Dallas 4/18 10:00 PM ET
Anaheim CNBC, CBC, RDS, FSN-FL
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Anaheim leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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