TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella made it clear. The defending Stanley Cup champions are going no where until their goaltending gets better.
Pierre Dagenais scored the tiebreaking goal from a tough angle with 11:26 remaining and Jose Theodore made 41 saves to help the Montreal Canadiens snap a nine-game road losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Lightning on Wednesday night.
The Lightning dominated much of the game, outshooting Montreal 44-24.
“Eighteen scoring chances to 10, we can’t have four goals in our net on 10 chances,” said Tortorella, who pounded the podium with his hand several times during his postgame news conference. “Especially the fourth goal, it can’t happen. I’m … at what’s happening there because I thought our team played very well tonight. And this has gone on for quite a while.”
Tortorella said backup Sean Burke will start Friday night against Boston.
“I hope he plays well,” Tortorella said. “If he plays well, he’s going to go again. I’m not up here trying to rip anybody apart. Let’s be honest about what’s going on here, and it’s getting old. We’re going no where until that situation is straightened out.”
The Lightning are near the salary cap top, which could make a trade difficult.
Montreal’s record for consecutive road losses is 10, set Jan. 16-March 13, 1926.
“We needed two points in the standings,” Theodore said. “We’ve been sliding, so it was nice to see us respond.”
Theodore returned after missing four games because of a knee injury. He stopped close-range shots by Martin St. Louis in the first and second periods.
“I felt good,” Theodore said. “I’m not 100 percent. My conditioning isn’t what it needs to be.”
“They are a hard team to contain,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “But we got some timely goals and terrific goaltending. It was battle-tested victory for us in many ways.”
Despite being outshot 13-5, Montreal lead 1-0 after the first. Bulis scored from in close at 5:30 off a pass from behind the net by Alex Kovalev, who had two assists.
Souray made it 2-0 when he snapped a 26-game goal-scoring drought during a 5-on-3 power play at 3:39 of the second. The Canadiens scored twice on their first six shots on Grahame.
Grahame stopped breakaway attempts by Mike Ribeiro and Dagenais. He had 20 saves.
Lecavalier’s breakaway goal at 13:17 and Craig’s in-close shot with 1:02 left in the second got the Lightning even at 2-all.
“It’s pretty frustrating,” Lecavalier said. We were aggressive the whole game. We played a solid game. I don’t know what else to say.”
The Canadiens lost twice in overtime and once in a shootout during their road losing streak. … Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk played in his 1,634 game, leaving him one away from tying Scott Stevens for fourth place on the NHL list. … Montreal was without C Saku Koivu (groin) and C Radek Bonk (groin). … Tampa Bay sent RW Darren Reid to Springfield of the AHL.