Oh, the woes of the Tampa Bay Lightning continue. They deserved the win, for the most part, in tonight’s battle against the Montreal Canadiens in the Bell Center in front of a sold out crowd. Again the Bolts had at least a 2 goal deficit in the 2nd period. Again they caught up from behind to make a game of it. Again their hard work didn’t pay off and they lost anyway. What was the difference in tonight’s game from the last three on the road? They came out strong in the 1st period. They played a full 60 minutes of good hockey. They fought for it.
The Habs (yes, I intended for the pun to be in the title) were looking to snap a 3 game losing streak, and sweep the 3 game series against the Lightning. The Bolts have dropped 5 games now, and have only won 1 in their last 8. This was Montreal’s first win since clinching a playoff spot last week. Tonight wrapped up the Lightning’s 4 game road trip, which they went 0-2-2.
Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has let in 9 goals in the 1st period of his past 3 games. Tonight the post was his saving grace. Sami Salo, Vincent Lecavalier, Teddy Purcell, even Steven Stamkos all had a run in with the darn metal. Marc-Andre Fleury would be proud. There was plenty of missed scoring opportunities, 2 obvious ones from Martin St. Louis. Officiating was at it’s worst tonight. In the end they called a questionable penalty on Ryan Malone for interfering with the goalkeeper. If you watch the replay, you can see clearly that he was pushed into price. That should have not been a penalty against Bugsy.
This power play for the Habs was key, as they were desperate to score to break the tie for the win. They were able to kill the penalty successfully, but an ignorant penalty by Benoit Pouliot sealed the deal. This was a good call, as he was holding P.K. Subban with both of his arms. And not for a hug. With less than 47 seconds left in the power play, rookie Brian Gionta grabbed a rebound off of the boards and scored his 2nd goal of the game for the win.
Sami Salo left the game early due to an injury and did not return. Keith Aulie was also hurt, but was able to return to the bench.
Tom Pyatt didn’t play as he is still recovering from an injury. Brandon Prust and Michael Ryder returned to the Montreal line up for tonight’s game.
Ben Bishop had 32 saves, Carey Price made 31. The final score was 3-2 Canadiens. Goals were by Alex Galchenyuk and Brian Gionta (2) for the Canadiens, Richard Panik and Vincent Lecavalier for the Lightning.
The Lightning played with heart tonight. However the turnovers, avoidable penalties, and passing prevented the win. They have got to get these things under control.