TAMPA, Fla. — The Montreal Canadiens stopped a long skid just in time to move back into first place.
“It’s nice to see the big smiles and hear the music after the game because it was well deserved,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said.
The Canadiens moved one point ahead of Florida for the Atlantic Division lead.
“When you’re in a slump like this, it takes one of those games to break out of it,” Condon said. “A good character win.”
Nikita Kucherov, Jason Garrison and Ryan Callahan scored for the Lightning, who are 2-1-1 on a six-game homestand. Tampa Bay centres Tyler Johnson and Brian Boyle both returned after being out with upper-body injuries.
“We generated a lot of chances,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “Give their goaltender a little bit of credit. He made some big-time saves.”
Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop stopped 31 shots.
Montreal is 4-10-1 since goalie Carey Price was sidelined by a lower-body injury in late November. The Canadiens are also without right wing Brendan Gallagher, who missed his 16th straight game due to broken fingers.
It was the first meeting between the teams since the Eastern Conference champion Lightning beat Montreal in the second round of last season’s playoffs. Tampa Bay also swept the five-game regular-season series in 2014-15.
After Garrison scored at 13:21 of the third, Callahan gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead on his first goal in 23 games 21 seconds later.
Weise got the Canadiens even at 3 at 14:14.
“We found a way to get the lead in the third, and we have to close it out,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said.
Galchenyuk put Montreal up 2-1 at 9:57 of the second.
Plekanec opened the scoring to tie Hector “Toe” Blake for 19th place on the Montreal career points list with 527 at 15:58 of the first.
Tampa Bay tied it at 1 during a power play 5:40 into the second when Kucherov sent the puck into the crease from along the goal line and it went in the net off Condon.
Montreal had the first nine shots of the game, including an in-close rebound shot by Mark Barberio.
“He was the best player on the ice tonight,” Montreal centre Torrey Mitchell said of Condon. “A heck of an effort by him.”
NOTES: Tampa Bay owner Jeff Vinik remains confident a deal with Stamkos, who can be a free agent after the season, can be worked out but said personnel decisions are in the hands of general manager Steve Yzerman. … The Canadiens obtained G Ben Scrivens from Edmonton for F Zack Kassian. Therrien said Scrivens could start Tuesday night at Florida. … Montreal reassigned G Dustin Tokarski to St. John’s of the AHL. … Tampa Bay reassigned LW Mike Angelidis and RW Mike Blunden to Syracuse of the AHL. … Kucherov has a six-game point streak.