MONTREAL -- Valtteri Filppula scored the winner for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Tuesday.
The Canadiens couldn't make the most of a superb effort from their goaltender.
Carey Price stopped 44 shots and kept his team in it on several occasions but the Canadiens' struggled to generate much offense.
"He kept us in it," Canadiens captain Brian Gionta. "In the second period and the first half of the third we had nothing. We didn't create anything, we didn't generate anything and he kept us in the game. He's the reason we were able to steal a point out of that game."
Filppula's winner gave the Lightning (13-5-0) their fourth win in five games.
"The guys played great tonight. We could have easily scored more goals (but) Carey Price played a great game. We hung in there until the end," said Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, who stopped 28 shots.
The loss was Montreal's (9-8-2) fourth in its last five games.
The Lightning opened the scoring five minutes into the first period when right winger B.J. Crombeen sent the puck around the left side back to defenseman Eric Brewer at the point. Left winger Ryan Malone, being cross-checked by Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray in front of a screened Price, tipped Brewer's shot as he was falling for his third of the season.
The Lightning won in their first game without star center Steven Stamkos, who broke his leg Monday and had surgery earlier in the day Tuesday.
"We understand this isn't a one-game absence for us. This is one of many. We need to bring this type of effort. But they've pretty much brought this all year," said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper. "I think this was a big step in overcoming what we know is going to be a challenge for us. But I think this is a big step in knowing that we can overcome it."
The Canadiens had their chances to equalize throughout the remainder of the frame with a trio of power plays. But they couldn't find a way to beat Bishop, mustering just six shots on the netminder on the three opportunities combined.
Their offensive struggles continued in the second, which saw the Tampa Bay outshoot Montreal 13-5.
"We caught ourselves chasing. We weren't supporting the play, we weren't supporting the puck," Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges said. "When you do that, you end up skating all over the place and it's chaotic, and that's what happened in the second."
Tampa Bay appeared to have doubled its lead late in the second when defenseman Radko Gudas' shot appeared to go in and out of the Canadiens' net in a flash. A video review at the next stoppage in play confirmed the puck had indeed gone in, but it was ruled no-goal after the replay showed incidental contact between Lightning center Tyler Johnson in a battle with Murray and Price.
Center Daniel Briere, playing his first game since suffering a concussion Oct. 19, gave the crowd some life at 15:22 of the third period. Left winger Max Pacioretty's shot from the left faceoff circle deflected off Briere, in the crease, and into the net. It was his second goal of the season.
The Lightning had a chance to end this one late in the third and early in overtime when the Canadiens found themselves down two men. But a strong penalty kill, in large part due to Price, denied the visitors.
"Our penalty-killers did a great job tonight, especially at crunch time at the end of the game. We had a few huge blocks by the usual suspects," Price said. "We'll take the positive, we got a point, we all know that we can play better," he added. "When you play a bad game you have to put it behind you and get ready for the next one."
NOTES: Canadiens C David Desharnais was a healthy scratch for the second time in the team's last four games., Desharnais has just one point, an assist, in 17 contests. ... Montreal RW George Parros and D Greg Pateryn were also scratched. ... The Lightning played their first game without C Steven Stamkos since Jan. 29, 2009, after he suffered a broken right tibia in Monday's game against the Bruins in Boston. ... Tampa Bay also scratched D Sami Salo, D Dmitry Korobov and LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie. ... The Lightning allowed an NHL-low six goals in the first period of games this season. Tampa Bay's opening period tally was just the eighth Montreal allowed this season, third-fewest in the league.