By ANTHONY GIORNALISTA, AP
Teams such as the Montreal Canadiens seem to thrive when a game lasts past regulation. The Tampa Bay Lightning certainly haven't been one of them.
Following their third shootout win of the season, the Canadiens return home Saturday night to face a Lightning club that continues to have a tough time late in games.
Montreal (8-8-0) has won two of three following consecutive losses, earning both of those victories in shootouts. The Canadiens beat Boston 2-1 on Thursday night, improving to 7-0-0 in games that have gone past regulation.
Tampa Bay is 1-0-5 in such contests, including a 3-2 overtime loss to Ottawa on Thursday night. Two days earlier, though, the Lightning beat Toronto 2-1 in OT.
Though Tampa Bay (5-4-5) has scored two goals or fewer in four straight, captain Vincent Lecavalier thought the team's last effort was a step in the right direction.
"I think it was a good game overall," he said.
The Lightning are 1-1-1 on a four-game stretch on the road, where they are 1-4-2. Tampa Bay has scored two goals or fewer in all of its games away from St. Pete Times Forum other than a 6-3 loss to Atlanta in its season opener Oct. 3.
Alex Tanguay, though, has been showing signs of improvement following a poor start. The veteran winger, signed as a free agent in September, has two goals and four assists in his last seven games after registering one point - an assist versus the Thrashers - in his first seven.
Steven Stamkos continues to impress. He scored a power-play goal against the Senators after having an eight-game point streak snapped Tuesday.
Stamkos, the first pick in the 2008 draft, already has 12 goals after scoring 23 as a rookie last season. He had one assist in four games against the Canadiens in 2008-09, as Tampa Bay went 2-0-2.
Antero Niittymaki has given up four goals or more in six of his last seven games against Montreal. He stopped 26 shots versus Ottawa in his second straight start.
Niittymaki is 3-1-2 with a 2.09 goals-against average. He's been splitting time with Mike Smith, who is 2-3-3 with a 3.64 GAA.
Whoever is in goal won't have rookie defenseman Victor Hedman helping them out on the blue line. Hedman, selected second overall in this year's draft, is day to day after being leveled by Ottawa's Chris Neil on a hit along the boards.
Montreal showed improvement defensively against Boston after surrendering 18 goals in its previous four games. Carey Price stopped 42 shots for his first win since beating Buffalo 2-1 on the road Oct. 3.
Price is 3-6-0 with a 3.32 GAA.
Received 11/06/09 04:50 pm ET