TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Dale Weise scored 18:08 into overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening game of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series on Wednesday night.
Daniel Briere passed from behind the net to Weise in the right circle, and he beat Anders Lindback for the winning score. Lindback stopped 39 of 44 shots while filling in for injured goaltender Ben Bishop.
Carey Price stopped 21 shots for the Canadiens, who blew a pair of third-period leads. Brian Gionta had a short-handed goal and Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller and Thomas Vanek also scored for Montreal.
Steven Stamkos scored twice for Tampa Bay, including the goal that forced overtime.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night.
Three of the four regular-season meetings between the teams were decided in overtime or a shootout, while the fourth was clinched by an empty-net goal.
This one was just as tight, with the Lightning making the most of a limited number of opportunities against Price and the Canadiens overcoming a pair of one-goal deficits before squandering a pair of their own while outshooting Tampa Bay 35-16 in regulation.
Vanek and Eller scored in third period for Montreal, each giving the Canadiens a lead that Price couldn't protect. Killorn countered for Tampa Bay to make it 3-all, and then fed a perfect pass to Stamkos for the goal that forced overtime.
Nikita Kucherov scored off a pass from J.T. Brown to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 10:09 of the first period. The celebration among the sellout crowd of 19,204 had barely begun when Plekanec angled a well-placed shot past Lindback from the left circle to tie it just 19 seconds later.
Stamkos' seventh career playoff goal gave the Lightning another lead that wouldn't hold up. Plekanec nearly knotted it for the second time when he hit the post less than 30 seconds after Tampa Bay went up 2-1, but Lindback wasn't as fortunate when Gionta gathered a loose puck and skated in on a breakaway for his short-handed goal.