St. Louis nets OT winner against fantasy Habs

Montreal Canadiens' Brian Gionta scores a goal on Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mathieu Garon during the first period of play of their NHL pre-season game at the Colisee in Quebec City

Suffering Canadiens withdrawal? The Gazette has the answer with the ultimate fantasy experience as beat writer Pat Hickey and Gazette techie Eric Tobon employ EA Sports NHL 13 to produce The Season That Isn’t. Here’s how things might have looked in Thursday night’s game between the Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning  at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Be

PAT HICKEY

The Gazette

TAMPA BAY _ Martin St. Louis scored at 4:17 of overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 victory over the Canadiens Thursday night at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

St. Louis, who collected assists on two third-period power-play goals by Vincent Lecavalier, took a lead pass from Eric Brewer, and roofed a backhander after deking backup goaltender Peter Budaj.

“He put a pretty good move on me,” said Budaj, who made 37 saves. “The ice was pretty bad and I wasn’t expecting him to do anything fancy with the puck but he fooled me.”

The Canadiens, who managed only 23 shots on former Canadien Mathieu Garon, took a 2-1 lead into the third period but Lecavalier tied the score at 2:34 and then gave the Lightning the lead at 13:54.

The lead didn’t last long as Travis Moen scored his seventh of the season when he scored off the rebound of a shot by Josh Gorges at 14:29.

“Those penalties hurt us in the third period and it was particularly painful because they weren’t good penalties,” said coach Michel Therrien. “The second one was a retaliation penalty and those are selfish penalties. When we were at even strength, we outplayed them.”

The Lightning went 2-for-7 on the power play while the Canadiens had two power plays and generated only one shot on goal.

Matt Carle scored the only goal of the first period at 6:59 but the Canadiens took the lead with two second-period goals. Colby Armstrong tied the score at 6:31 when he deflected a shot by Tomas Plekanec. Armstrong was filling in for Erik Cole, who made a brief visit to the locker room after taking a hard check along the boards. Cole returned later in the period and gave the Canadiens their only lead when he scored at 15:24.

The Canadiens continue to play without P.K. Subban and David Desharnais but Therrien said Desharnais will return to the lineup Friday night when the Canadiens play the Florida Panthers in Sunrise. Subbsn is in Florida as he continues his rehab from a hip pointer but he said he’s at least two weeks away from a return.

“With the snowstorm hitting Montreal, it’s nice to have the warm weather but it’s hard to follow my brother at the world juniors when we’re down here,” said Subban, whose brother Malcolm is Team Canada’s No. 1 goaltender. 

phickey@montrealgazette.com

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