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Lightning beat Canadiens as both teams clinch playoff spot
Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Tyler Johnson's shorthanded goal in the third period helped Tampa Bay clinch a playoff spot as the Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 3-1.
With the win, the Lightning secured a spot in the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, and moved into the second spot in the Atlantic Division with 93 points. Montreal also has 93 points, but Tampa has a game in hand.
"The feeling you have before the game to right now, it really feels like all the games we've played bottled up into one," said Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper. "I'm excited for what's happening to be honest; it's a really cool feeling."
Despite the loss, the Canadiens also clinched a spot for a second straight season as the Devils and Capitals both lost on Tuesday.
Ryan Callahan and Alex Killorn also scored while Ben Bishop made 25 stops for the Lightning, who have won three of their last four.
Brendan Gallagher had the only goal of the game for the Canadiens, who had a five-game winning streak stopped. Carey Price allowed two goals on 32 shots.
"We missed a chance to create some space in the standings," said Price. "I think we matched up pretty well with those guys and we tend to bring out the best in each other. That's a good team over there."
With the score tied in the third and Tampa facing a shorthanded situation, the puck came out of the zone and Johnson caught up to it in neutral zone. Cutting down the right wing to the front of the net, he lifted in a backhand for a 2-1 lead at 12:41.
Montreal didn't help itself down the stretch, as the team took several penalties.
Included in that was a match penalty to defenseman Douglas Murray, who caught Tampa defenseman Michael Kostka in the head with an elbow. Kostka hit his head on the ice and a stretcher was brought out, but he wound up skating off the ice under his own power.
Killorn sealed the win with an empty-netter power-play goal inside the final minute.
Montreal scored halfway through the first period after Gallagher backhanded home a rebound for his 19th goal of the season.
The score stayed that way until 9:19 of the second as the Lightning notched a power-play goal thanks to Callahan's backhander off a rush down the left wing.
Tampa hosts Calgary on Thursday ... Montreal plays in Ottawa on Friday ... Tampa Bay took three of four from Montreal this season ... Tampa was 2-for-9 on the power play and Montreal went 0-for-4.
04/02 00:07:12 ET