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Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning bounce back, drub Canadiens

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Published:   |   Updated: March 22, 2013 at 06:39 AM

Google it, search for it on YouTube, click the link and watch it over and over again.

The penalty shot goal Steven Stamkos pulled out of his arsenal in Thursday's 4-1 victory against Montreal is that good.

The in-the-crease, spin-o-rama that left Carey Price sliding to the wrong side of the net highlighted a career-best-tying four-point night for Stamkos and put the Lightning back into first place in the Southeast Division with a 22-11-5 record. The two-goal, two-assist performance for Stamkos, his third four-point night of the season, also made a winner of rookie goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, who stopped 27 shots in his NHL debut against his former organization.

Had it not been for the highlight-reel goal by Stamkos, Desjardins would have been the center of attention.

But even before the referee pointed to center ice to award Stamkos the penalty shot, the third-year center knew exactly what he was going to pull out of his bag of tricks for his second career penalty shot attempt.

Stamkos is 0-for-3 in shootouts this season and 4-for-17 in his brief career, so he figured he couldn't do any worse, and he provided a key goal that made it 3-1 just 1:46 into the third period.

"I just decided to try to switch it up, and it worked, so I was happy,'' Stamkos said. "It's a move that works a majority of the time, and I've done it in practice a bunch of times and it's worked every time, you see it in shootouts all the time and the success rate is pretty good, so I just went with it.''

Less than three minutes after his penalty shot, Stamkos found an open net on a wraparound for his 31st of the season at 4:40 to break the game open.

And while the penalty shot conversion will dominate the highlights as one of the top goals of the year, Lightning coach Guy Boucher said he was more impressed with another aspect of the 20-year-old's game.

"This guy took charge tonight in the second period,'' Boucher said. "He's getting better defensively each game, he's winning important faceoffs, things that as a youngster he wasn't necessarily doing at the beginning of the year. So for me and the rest of the organization, that's a lot more important than coming out here and scoring two goals.''

For Desjardins, his night started out rough. The first shot he faced, a pass attempt by Max Pacioretty that caromed off a skate in front, wound up in his net. It wasn't the way he wanted his first career start to begin.

"I don't want to tell you, I can't tell you on TV,'' Desjardins said of what he was thinking when the puck slipped past him 58 seconds into the game. "But that happens, that's what experience is and that's why I'm ready for this league. Because I've been through those early goals before and that's when you have to step up your game. That's what we did as a team and that's what I did myself.''

After trailing following the opening period, Marty St. Louis scored a five-on-three power play goal at 2:48, 13 seconds after Montreal was called for consecutive too-many-men-on-the-ice penalties. Pavel Kubina made it 2-1at 12:31 when his puck into the crease ricocheted in, making Kubina the highest goal-scoring defenseman in franchise history with his 67th goal.

Tribune's 3 Stars

1. Lightning C Steven Stamkos - Third four-point game of the season including stellar penalty shot goal

2. Lightning G Cedrick Desjardins - Rookie stopped 27 shots for a victory in his NHL debut

3. Lightning D Victor Hedman - Was a rock in his own end all night

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