(The Sports Xchange) - The Montreal Canadiens staved off elimination from the Eastern Conference semi-finals with a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Four on Thursday.
With the season on the line, Montreal burst to a 5-0 lead midway through the second to beat the Lightning for the first time in nine meetings this season and send the series back to Montreal on Saturday.
The Canadiens’ goals came from six different players, while goaltender Carey Price stopped 22 of 24 shots.
Andrei Markov opened the scoring early before Max Pacioretty scored short-handed to give the visitors a 2-0 lead after the first period.
David Desharnais, Jeff Petry and Brendan Gallagher put the Habs out of reach midway through the second.
Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov pulled one back later in the second to make it 5-1 and Ondrej Palat reduced the deficit to three goals with a power-play strike early in the third.
However, Brandon Prust iced the win by scoring Montreal’s sixth goal of the game at 4:52 of the third.
The six goals were the most allowed by the Lightning in a playoff game since 2006.
After going 3-0 down the Lightning pulled goaltender Ben Bishop and gave rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy his NHL playoff debut.
The switch did not have the desired effect as Montreal scored twice in his first five minutes -- 15 seconds apart -- to take a 5-0 lead.
While Montreal will get a boost from the win, they still have a mountain to climb if they are to advance. Only four teams have survived 3-0 series deficits in 178 opportunities.
Editing by Peter Rutherford