Lightning snaps losing streak
The Tampa Bay Lightning are more than ready to turn the page on former coach Barry Melrose. Martin St. Louis scored twice, Vincent Lecavalier had a goal and an assist, and Tampa Bay ended a nine-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens last night.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are more than ready to turn the page on former coach Barry Melrose.
Martin St. Louis scored twice, Vincent Lecavalier had a goal and an assist, and Tampa Bay ended a nine-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens last night.
Olaf Kolzig made 31 saves for Tampa Bay, which was 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 today for a lower body injury.
Defenseman Ryan O'Byrne and left winger Guillaume Latendresse returned to the lineup for Montreal.
In other games last night:
* At Columbus, Jake Voracek scored the decisive goal in the shootout and Steve Mason stopped 25 shots through overtime to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators.
* At Pittsburgh, Petr Sykora ended the longest streak in NHL history without a hat trick by a player who had scored at least two goals in a game and paced the Penguins' 9-2 rout of the New York Islanders.
* At Edmonton, Craig Anderson had 41 saves as the Florida Panthers shut out the Oilers, 2-0.
* At Glendale, Ariz., Olli Jokinen scored for the third time in two games since returning from a shoulder injury and the Phoenix Coyotes snapped an eight-game losing streak against Minnesota with a 3-1 win over the Wild. *