MAX PACIORETTY lifted the Montreal Canadiens into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last night with a power-play goal with 43 seconds remaining for a 4-3 victory and a four-game sweep of Tampa Bay.
The first team to advance this year, the Canadiens also got goals from Daniel Briere, Brendan Gallagher and Lars Eller. Montreal now faces a long wait for the Eastern Conference semifinals against the winner of the Boston-Detroit series.
Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay. Victor Hedman pulled the Lightning within one goal 3 minutes into the third period, and Tyler Johnson tied the game 3 minutes later.
Lightning backup goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis replaced Anders Lindback after Gallagher's goal 5:42 into the second period. Lindback gave up three goals on 20 shots, while Gudlevskis stopped 16 of 17 shots in relief.
Pacioretty was parked in front to bang the rebound of Thomas Vanek's shot past Gudlevskis and thrill the 21,273 spectators. A tripping penalty on Cedric Paquette with 2:11 left put Montreal on the power play and Pacioretty got only the Canadiens' second power-play goal of the series.
Montreal posted its first sweep since taking out Buffalo in four straight in 1993 en route to the last of its record 24 Stanley Cups.
Tampa Bay's rookie-laden lineup could not keep pace with Montreal. The Lightning also played the series without No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop, who has a left arm injury.
For a second straight game, the Bell Centre was at a fever pitch. And while it took Rene Bourque only 11 seconds to score the first goal in Game 3, this time it took 2:24 for Briere to open the scoring.
The Lightning defense abandoned the front of the net and left Briere alone in front to score his first of the series and 51st playoff goal.
The Canadiens had a 15-6 shot advantage in the period and made it 2-0 when Brian Gionta picked Paquette's pocket in the neutral zone and sent Eller in on the left side to blast a low shot past Lindback.
Tampa Bay caught a break while killing a penalty in the second period when Alexei Emelin misplayed a puck behind the net. Palat swept around and pushed the puck in among a pile of players.
But only 1:10 later, Tomas Plekenec sent Gallagher in on the right side to wrist a shot in off the post to restore the two-goal lead. The 21-year-old has five goals in nine career playoff games.
That chased Lindback, who allowed three goals on 20 shots.
In another game
* At Detroit, Tuukka Rask finished with a 23-save shutout to give the Boston Bruins a 3-0 win over the Red Wings for a 2-1 series lead.
Dougie Hamilton and Jordan Caron scored in the first period, and Patrice Bergeron added an empty-net goal late in the game. The Presidents' Trophy-winning Bruins are ahead for the first time in the opening-round series. And, it seems like a commanding lead the way Boston has played the past two games.
Detroit has to win Game 4 tomorrow night to avoid facing elimination when the series shifts back to Boston.
Jimmy Howard made 31 saves for the Red Wings, who needed him to make what appeared to be a routine stop midway through the first period on the first goal. He couldn't.
Hamilton's wrist shot from the top of the right circle beat Howard's glove on a power play after Detroit had too many men on the ice.
The Red Wings didn't have enough players in position to stop the second goal. After a poorly timed line change, Caron was all alone in front of the net and scored off a rebound.
Detroit had a 5-on-3 power play for 35 seconds midway through the second period and could not take advantage.