Published: Sun, April 09, 2017
Sports | By Grace Becker

Gourde, Kucherov help Lightning beat Canadiens 4-2


He's up 40 goals and 44 assists in 73 games this season.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were dead last in the Eastern Conference two months ago, but they are still alive for a playoff berth heading into the final weekend of the season despite playing without star forward Steven Stamkos. Each day until the end of the regular season, we'll breakdown who they could possibly face in the first round and other seeding in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But Gourde once again put Tampa Bay ahead by two just 21 seconds later when he was uncovered in the left circle to convert a Cory Conacher feed.

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What makes this late season push by the Lightning so unbelievable is that they are doing it without Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson.

Nikita Kucherov scored his 40th of the season and Alex Killorn also had one for the Bolts. Kucherov made it 2-0 when he beat Price on a wicked wrist shot to the short side at 19:50 of the first period after getting behind defencemen Jeff Petry and Brandon Davidson on a long Hail Mary pass from Ondrej Palat.

"We've had a lot of guys that have been hurt, but it seems like there has been definitely an urgency in these last 20 games, where we haven't really been even close to a playoff spot and now we're one point away". The Lightning opened the scoring at 11:42 of the first period after Kucherov rang a shot off the crossbar and Gourde scored on the rebound. "They (the Maple Leafs) have a game in hand, but still, it's a great opportunity, and I think that's why this team has done so well in the playoffs recently, it's because we rise to these occasions".

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Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 shots for Tampa Bay.

The desperate Lightning faced a Canadiens team that had already clinched first place in the Atlantic Division and rested three banged up starting defensemen - Shea Weber, Jordie Benn and Alexei Emelin.

The 23-year-old Russian was robbed by goalie Carey Price 3:59 into the game.

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Lehkonen found King coming off the bench with a stretch pass.

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