It was no coincidence Vinny Lecavalier shot where he did on Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore for his breakaway goal with 2.4 seconds left in the second. The Lightning center said video sessions showed a quirk in Theodore's positioning.
"He came out, and I think he thought I was going to deke," Lecavalier said. "When he thinks that, he stays up. And then when he goes down into the butterfly, there are openings on the sides."
And that is where Lecavalier scored, though he admitted there was a bit of luck involved because of the puck bouncing on uneven ice. Whatever, Lecavalier, who had a rough time this season converting breakaways, will take it.
"It really feels good," he said. "The puck was bouncing, and I knew I couldn't deke. The puck was all over the place, so I had to keep my head down. But I figured with a quick shot maybe I could freeze him."
He did, with a shot just inside the left post.
The Canadiens griped a little about a call just before Lecavalier's second goal. Moments before, with the teams playing four skaters a side, the whistle blew when the puck went out of play.
According to Montreal coach Claude Julien, one referee signaled the faceoff would be in the Lightning end, so he put out an offensive unit. But the draw ended up being in the Montreal zone, and it was stuck with four players it didn't want on the ice.
"It didn't give me the opportunity to make the change I wanted to make," Julien said. "That was tough luck. That's a thing that happens, and you've got to live with it."
It seems unreasonable, though, for the Canadiens to argue now because they gained control of the puck and didn't allow the goal until defenseman Sheldon Souray turned it over at the Lightning blue line.
Another Lightning defenseman hurt
The Lightning lost defenseman Dan Boyle midway through the second period with what the team called an upper-body injury. There was no immediate word on its severity, but he is day to day. If Boyle can't go and with Jassen Cullimore already out, the Lightning would have to call on Darren Rumble or Stan Neckar.
He's so irritating
Pavel Kubina continued to get under the skin of the Canadiens, specifically Alex Kovalev and Richard Zednik, both of whom Kubina apparently has decided are his personal responsibility.
The most interesting manifestation came when Zednik tripped Kubina as Kubina touched a puck for icing. Kubina threw a punch in retaliation that struck Zednik in the midsection.
"This is like Christmas time for this team," Kubina said. "It's a special time. I'm just trying to do the best job I can. And I wouldn't say I whack them. They whack me, too."
It is a recurring theme for Kubina, who irritated Washington's Jaromir Jagr to distraction during last season's East quarterfinals and had Islanders captain Michael Peca infuriated during this season's quarterfinals.
Kubina, who is plus-2 in the series, played a game-high 26:05 Sunday. His only misstep was getting suckered into a roughing penalty by Darren Langdon late in the second.
"That wasn't too smart from me," he said. "He slashed me a couple of times, and I retaliated."
Almost a crowd-pleaser
Playing in the NHL was a dream come true for Eric Perrin. Seeing the ice for the first two playoff series was even better. But having a chance to score? How can you top that?
Perrin found himself alone in front of Theodore on Sunday after Fredrik Modin chipped the puck behind the defense midway through the third. Perrin got off a backhand despite a bouncing puck, but Theodore stopped it with his blocker.
"I don't think I took a breath until I got to the bench after that," Perrin said. "I was so surprised. I think with time, those kinds of things, I'll learn to relax. But at least I'm getting those chances right now, and I'm happy with that."
Odds and ends
More than 700 servicemen and women from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa attended the game courtesy of tickets purchased by Yankees owner and Tampa resident George Steinbrenner. ... Of 420 minutes in its seven playoff games, the Lightning has trailed for just 73:55. ... Dave Andreychuk's assist on Lecavalier's first goal was the captain's first point of the playoffs. ... The announced attendance of 19,435 was 323 below capacity, meaning Tampa Bay has sold out just one of its five home playoff games. ... NHL commissioner Gary Bettman attended the game.