MONTREAL (AP)—The Tampa Bay Lightning are more than ready to turn the page on former coach Barry Melrose.
Olaf Kolzig made 31 saves for Tampa Bay, which lost 4-2 in Buffalo on Wednesday. The Lightning were 0-7-2 since beating Nashville 4-1 on Nov. 21, their only other win in 16 games.
Tampa Bay is 2-7-4 since interim coach Rick Tocchet took over for Melrose, who ripped his former team earlier this week during an interview on a Toronto sports radio station.
“We don’t really listen to what he says anymore,” Lecavalier said. “He said it when he got fired, and he said it again a couple of weeks after so we don’t really pay attention to that. We have great players here, a great coaching staff with Rick Tocchet, (Mike) Sullivan and (Wes) Walz, and we’re going forward.”
In an interview broadcast Tuesday on The Fan 990, Melrose said, “I hope Tampa Bay doesn’t win a game in the next year.”
Melrose, who will return to ESPN in January as a hockey analyst, was fired on Nov. 14 after the Lightning started 5-7-4.
“It really doesn’t matter what he says, to be honest,” Tocchet said. “We’re in it together and we’re trying to get out of it. Stuff like that is like a fly on your back, you just swat it away.”
Patrice Brisebois scored a power-play goal early in the first for Montreal, which fell to 4-1-1 on its franchise-record seven-game homestand.
“They had lost nine in a row and we didn’t respect their work ethic,” Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said.
Lecavalier assisted on St. Louis’ tying goal midway through the first before adding his 12th of the season moments later to put the Lightning up 2-1.
St. Louis increased the lead to two in the second with his second goal of the game, a short-handed effort that gave him 10 tallies this season.
“If you don’t get up for these games in this building, you don’t have the right blood running through your veins,” said St. Louis, who grew up in suburban Montreal.
Jaroslav Halak made his second start in a row. The Montreal backup stopped 19 shots but dropped to 3-3-1.
Canadiens captain Saku Koivu went to the dressing room for a good part of the second period, and didn’t return for the third. Koivu will have tests Thursday for a lower body injury.
“He was too sore to continue,” Carbonneau said.
Dandenault is sidelined indefinitely after having surgery Wednesday on his broken left arm. Higgins is out due to an unspecified upper body injury.
Brisebois scored his second of the season 5:34 in when he took a pass from Alex Kovalev and beat Kolzig with a wrist shot from the slot.
St. Louis extended his point streak to six games when his shot from the left side went off Halak’s left pad and through the goalie’s legs, drawing Tampa Bay even at 10:49.
Lecavalier scored at 12:03 to put the Lightning up 2-1.
St. Louis increased the lead at 8:31 of the second when he drove in on a breakaway and beat Halak while teammate Marek Malik sat in the penalty box.
St. Louis has five goals and three assists during his point streak. … Canadiens D Andrei Markov extended his point streak to six with an assist on Brisebois’ goal. Markov has three goals and five assists over that span. … Montreal rookie RW Matt D’Agostini had a four-game goal spurt snapped. D’Agostini has four goals and one assist in six games since he was recalled from Hamilton (AHL). … With an assist on St. Louis’ first goal, Mark Recchi moved into a tie with Jari Kurri for third place on the NHL career points list among right wingers. Recchi and Kurri have 1,398 points, trailing Gordie Howe and Jaromir Jagr.