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Johnson scores 2 goals, lifts Lightning over Canadiens 4-2

MONTREAL (AP) — Tyler Johnson scored twice in Tampa Bay’s four-goal second period, and the Lightning won the matchup for the top spot in Eastern Conference with a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Brett Connolly and J.T. Brown also scored for Tampa Bay (26-12-4), which moved two points ahead of Montreal atop both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.

Dale Weise and Max Pacioretty had goals for Montreal (26-12-2), which has two games in hand on the Lightning.

The Canadiens played their first home game since Dec. 20 after winning five straight on the road. They had won six in a row overall.

The Lightning’s line of Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, who each had two assists, is clicking. In their last seven games, Palat has 13 points, and Kucherov and Johnson have 11 each.

Tampa Bay held a 36-22 shots advantage over Montreal, which fell to 16-1 when scoring first.

The Canadiens were looking to avenge a 7-1 loss at Tampa Bay on Oct. 13, but didn’t play smart hockey against one of the NHL’s best two-way clubs.

They thought they had a goal only two minutes in, but Andrei Markov’s shot hit the inside of both posts and stayed out. Valtteri Filppula was then stopped on a short-handed breakaway by Carey Price.

Montreal didn’t get its first shot until 13 minutes in, but soon after, the Canadiens took a 1-0 lead when Weise was at the far post to redirect Tomas Plekanec’s shot past Ben Bishop at 15:07.

The Lightning tied it 3:17 into the second when rookie Jonathan Drouin hit the post but then got the puck to the net on another chance a moment later. Brown banged in the rebound.

A slashing call on P.K. Subban led to Johnson’s goal at 10:42 on a feed from Kucherov. A giveaway by Tom Gilbert during a line change led to Connolly scoring on a 4-on-2 rush at 18:16.

Palat poked the puck in through a scramble in Price’s crease on a power play at 19:38.

Pacioretty got one back 5:01 into the third when he went in alone and scored off Bishop’s glove.

NOTES: The Lightning said D Radko Gudas will be out for four months because of a right knee injury. … Filppula played in his 600th NHL game.

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