Brandon Hagel remains hot as Lightning rally to beat Canadiens

Eduardo A. Encina, Tampa Bay Times on

Published in Hockey

TAMPA, Fla. — The Lightning opened Saturday night honoring the franchise’s founding father and two key players from their first Stanley Cup team.

In a pregame ceremony, the new home of the Lightning Hall of Fame was unveiled with Phil Esposito, Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier’s names etched on the upper deck facade below the press box.

After a ceremonial puck drop, St. Louis waved to the fans, took off his Lightning blue Hall of Fame blazer, put on his suit jacket and took his spot behind the Canadiens bench, his role immediately changing from hometown hero to opposing head coach.

Thirty-eight former Lightning players, coaches and executives participated in alumni weekend, conjuring up memories of team’s past.

On the ice, a Lightning team hoping to make its own history with another deep playoff run rallied from a goal down in the third period to beat the Canadiens 5-3 for their third straight victory.

After Steven Stamkos scored his 30th goal of the season ― and his third in the past two games ― on the power play, rifling a shot from the left circle past Montreal goaltender Samuel Montembeault to tie the score, Brandon Hagel scored his second goal of the night to give the Lightning the lead. His empty-netter late gave him his second career hat trick.

On the go-ahead goal, Hagel drifted in front of the net, calling for the puck by lifting his stick and deflecting Mikhail Sergachev’s puck on net past Montembeault.


The 25-year-old Hagel now has 27 goals this season, fourth most on the team, and has four goals ― including two game-winners — and six points in his last three games since rejoining the Lightning’s top forward line.

After taking a 2-1 lead on Hagel’s goal at the 4:50 mark in the second period, the Canadiens responded with two goals.

A miscommunication between Stamkos and Erik Cernak at the right point left a free puck and allowed the Canadiens a rush going the other way that ended with Denis Gurianov scoring at the 6:29 mark.

After Sergachev was whistled for a holding penalty midway through the second, Jesse Ylonen scored a go-ahead, power-play goal on a one-timer from the left circle to put Montreal up 3-2.

The Canadiens played with just 11 forwards after St. Louis disciplined former Lightning center Jonathan Drouin for missing a team meeting, dressing him but stapling him to the bench for the entire game.

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