Lightning 2, Canadiens 1

Steven Stamkos scoring is nothing new. The goal from Adam Hall
was a surprise.

Stamkos netted his NHL-leading 44th goal of the season and the
Tampa Bay Lightning beat the slumping Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on
Tuesday night.

”It’s been a challenge,” Stamkos said about the plight of the
Lightning, who have made a series of trades recently and are
without several key players. ”There’s a lot of adversity we’ve had
to overcome this last stretch.”

Tampa Bay’s injury list includes captain Vincent Lecavalier
(hand) and defensemen Victor Hedman (upper body), Marc-Andre
Bergeron (back) and Mattias Ohlund (knee).

Hall, however, helped pick up the slack. He added his second
goal of the season for the Lightning, who are 11th in the Eastern
Conference and trail eighth-place Washington by five points.
Mathieu Garon finished with 23 saves.

”You never know when it’s going to come,” said Hall, a strong
defensive forward. ”Whether the points show it or not, you always
find some way whether you’re scoring goals or killing penalties or
(winning) faceoffs.”

Stamkos took a pass from Teddy Purcell, deked around goalie
Carey Price and put the Lightning up 1-0 at 8:42 of the first
period. Purcell, a game-time decision due to the flu, has 10
assists and 14 points during a career-high seven-game point
streak.

Montreal got a goal from David Desharnais. The Canadiens, last
in the Eastern Conference, have lost five in a row, getting
outscored 16-5.

”It’s the worst feeling in the world,” left wing Max
Pacioretty said. ”The mood is down, everyone’s upset. It’s
definitely not fun. We’ve got to find a way to break out of
this.”

Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 when Hall ended his 45-game goal
drought, dating to the season opener Oct. 7 against Carolina, from
the low slot off a pass from Ryan Malone 28 seconds into the
second.

Desharnais had tied it at 1-all with 3:58 left in the first.

Malone was given an instigator penalty, 5-minute fighting major
and a game misconduct at 8:16 of the second after a scuffle near
the Canadiens bench. Montreal’s Brad Staubitz got 2 minutes for
interference from the bench and a 10-minute misconduct on the
play.

The penalties came 20 seconds after Montreal’s Alexei Emelin,
who was involved in the scrum, finished serving an interference
penalty for making contact with Malone.

”He took care of his own business,” Tampa Bay coach Guy
Boucher said of Malone. ”The blind hit he got there, that’s
extremely dangerous. The puck didn’t even come close to him.”

The Canadiens, who entered with the NHL’s second-worst power
play, failed to score on the ensuing 5-minute man advantage. Garon
made an in-close save on Erik Cole, who had three strong scoring
chances in the game.

”On the power play, you at least want to gain momentum,”
Pacioretty said. ”But you heard their fans when they killed off
that 5 minutes. It gave them momentum.”

Blake Geoffrion, recalled from Hamilton of the AHL on Monday,
was scoreless in his Canadiens debut. The 24-year-old forward is
the fourth generation of his family to play for Montreal. His great
grandfather was Hall of Famer Howie Morenz. His paternal
grandfather was Bernie ”Boom Boom” Geoffrion, another NHL Hall of
Famer. Geoffrion’s father, Dan, played a season with the Habs.

”It was definitely a special feeling,” Geoffrion said. ”I was
pumped for tonight. It’s always disappointing to lose, obviously.
Not a good feeling.”

Geoffrion had a drive from the right circle stopped by Garon
midway through the first.

Notes: Canadiens great Jean Beliveau had a stroke Monday night
for the second time in two years and is being treated at a Montreal
hospital. … The Lightning played without C Nate Thompson and D
Brendan Mikkelson, who both have the flu. Boucher said he was not
feeling well, and added that the sick list also includes Malone and
some of the assistant coaches.