Kucherov strikes for Lightning in series opener against Habs

Reuters News
Posted: May 02, 2015 12:34 AM

(The Sports Xchange) - Nikita Kucherov scored two minutes into the second period of overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 road win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game One of their Eastern Conference semi-finals series on Friday.

Goaltender Carey Price made 33 saves for Montreal while Ben Bishop stopped 43 shots for the Lightning, who opened the scoring through Tyler Johnson early in the third period before Max Pacioretty replied in the closing minutes for the Canadiens.

The Lightning thought they ended it early in the first overtime when Kucherov took advantage of a bouncing puck to break in on Price but officials ruled out the goal, deeming that the winger had pushed the goalie into the net.

The Canadiens skated out to a strong start, controlling the play and hitting a pair of posts early in the first but were unable to get anything by Bishop.

Pacioretty was involved in two of Montreal's best chances in the second, both short-handed, but could not break through until 14:47 in the third with a goal that sent the game into overtime.

Johnson had earlier scored his NHL-leading seventh goal of the playoffs at 2:34 of the third period.

After a penalty to Montreal expired, defenseman Matt Carle fired a shot from the top of the left circle and Johnson, battling with Canadiens blue-liner Tom Gilbert in front of Price, deflected it just under the crossbar.

Game Two of the best-of-seven series is in Montreal on Sunday.