MONTREAL (AP)Brandon Hagel had a three-point performance as the Tampa Bay Lightning began a four-game road trip with a decisive a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
Hagel hit a milestone with his first goal when he reached the 100-point mark in the National Hockey League. It was a feat the fifth-year pro didn’t realize was at arm’s reach.
”I’m not even sure, maybe, I guess it was 100?” Hagel asked. ”It’s crazy from how it started and the ups and downs I’ve been through and finally to get that, it’s pretty cool.”
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper didn’t like his team’s start Saturday but said Hagel’s goal was the kick-starter for his side.
”That’s what he’s done for us, his engine’s always going and he never gives up on pucks,” Cooper said.
Nicholas Paul, Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov also scored for Tampa, while Steven Stamkos picked up two assists.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves as the Lightning (20-9-1) extended their winning streak to five games.
Nick Suzuki scored the lone goal for the Canadiens, who have now dropped three straight.
Habs goaltender Jake Allen surrendered five goals on 27 shots.
The Canadiens (14-15-2) took six penalties, five in the second period, and the Lightning made them pay with two power play goals.
”There’s a lack of finishing but we’re able to create, we had chances at the start,” said Habs coach Martin St. Louis. ”It’s been about penalties tonight. It was hard to score in the second when you’re defending for the whole period.”
The Lightning broke the ice with their first shot of the game. Ian Cole found Hagel with a stretch pass from his own end. Hagel beat Allen on a breakaway.
Tampa took a 2-0 lead at 11:39 of the first period when Paul hopped on a rebound in the slot.
Jake Evans took a high-sticking double minor penalty in the second period, giving Tampa a two-man advantage.
As Mike Matheson left the penalty box, to help his side defend the Lightning power play, Cirelli tapped in his first goal of the season from point-blank range.
The Lightning improved their lead to four goals at 17:47 of the second period on their sixth power play of the game. Hagel deflected Victor Hedman’s shot from the point and made the Habs pay for their lack of discipline.
”I don’t know, I feel like we talk about it before every single game and as of late. We’ve been taking way too many penalties and that’s got to stop,” Suzuki said. ”We’re wasting the guys’ energy killing penalties, and it’s hard to keep momentum like that.”
Montreal got one back 16 seconds into the third period when Kaiden Guhle stickhandled past Cirelli and left the puck for Suzuki who spoiled Vasilevskiy’s shutout hopes.
Kucherov showed a flash of skill late in the third period as he zoomed past Joel Edmundson and beat Allen in the top right-hand corner.
HEDMAN TIES LECAVALIER
With his power-play assist, Hedman picked up his 42nd point against the Canadiens in 41 games. The defenseman is now tied with Vincent Lecavalier as the Bolts’ all-time points leader against Montreal.
Lightning: At Toronto on Tuesday night in the second of a four-game trip.
Canadiens: At Arizona on Monday night to open a seven-game trip.
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