MONTREAL — Paul Byron scored in a shootout as the Montreal Canadiens ended a five-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
Byron was the only player to score in the shootout. Max Pacioretty scored in regulation time for Montreal (17-20-4), which posted its first win since Dec. 22.
Nikita Kucherov scored for Tampa Bay (29-8-3), which beat Montreal at home Dec. 28.
The Lightning outshot the Canadiens 40-36 in regulation time and 45-38 overall in a wild game marked by brilliant goaltending at both ends of the ice.
Glittering chances were missed through an entertaining but scoreless opening period, but then the teams traded goals 44 seconds apart while each down a man to start the second frame.
Mikhail Sergachev, traded by Montreal to Tampa Bay for Jonathan Drouin in June, sent a weak pass up the left boards that was picked off by Pacioretty. The Canadiens captain skated into the slot and beat Andrei Vasilevskiy up high at the 0:20 mark.
There was little goal celebration from Pacioretty, who ended a 13-game goal-less drought dating to Nov. 30.
Vasilevskiy, coming off two straight shutouts, saw his 184 minutes 49 seconds goalless string end.
Only 44 seconds later, Kucherov skated into the slot and wristed his 26th goal of the season through traffic to beat Carey Price inside the near post.
The Lightning wasted a big chance 6:33 into the third when Karl Alzner mishandled the puck at the far blue line, but Kucherov's backhand on the ensuing breakaway went well over the crossbar.
Montreal's Jacob De la Rose played his first game since Dec. 7, replacing Daniel Carr.
Ryan Callahan returned to the Tampa Bay lineup after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.