Lightning strike twice, lead Canadiens 2-1 after 1st period

MONTREAL — Jan Rutta and Victor Hedman scored in an early 1:35 span and the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning led the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 after one period Friday night in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Canadiens responded with Phillip Danault scoring with 8:44 left in the period in the first Stanley Cup Final game in Montreal since the Canadiens won their 24th title in Game 5 against the Wayne Gretzky-led Los Angeles Kings on June 9, 1993.

The Lightning lead the series 2-0 and have scored the first goal in each of the three games.

Rutta opened the scoring 1:52 in by snapping a shot from the right circle, beating Carey Price over his right shoulder and inside the far post. Price was screened in front by Brayden Point.

Hedman scored a power-play goal with Eric Staal off for delay of game. Hedman’s shot from the blue line went in through a crowd and squeezed under the arm of Price, who was screened by Anthony Cirelli.

Danualt scored on a partial break up the left wing, beating Andrei Vasilevskiy on the short side.

The Canadiens welcomed back interim head coach Dominique Ducharme. He returned after 14 days in mandatory quarantine following a positive COVID-19 test.

Ducharme was forced into making a quick decision by spending Montreal’s timeout to stem the Lightning’s momentum and allow the Canadiens to regroup after allowing two goals on five shots.

The Lightning were without forward Alex Killorn, who missed his second game with an undisclosed injury.

The game was the NHL’s first played in the month of July, a year after playing its first games in August.

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