The Tampa Bay Lightning finished off their painful back-to-back road series with a 4-2 loss at the Bell Centre at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has been on quite a roll lately after finally finding the mojo they were so desperately earlier in the season. Unfortunately, it seemed like the Tampa Bay Lightning ran face first into a brick wall last night at the Canadian Tire Centre as the Lightning fell to the Ottawa Senators in a crushing 5-1 loss.
On the bright side, all is not lost for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning had just one chance to right their wrongs before they would come home to the Amalie Arena and face their hometown crowd on Friday night. The Tampa Bay Lightning traveled to the Bell Centre with the hopes of finding a little redemption with a win over a familiar Atlantic Division rival, the Montreal Canadiens.
Unfortunately, the beginning of the game looked eerily similar to the start of last night’s battle with the Senators. While the Tampa Bay Lightning would outshoot the Canadiens for the good part of the first period, it would ultimately be the Canadiens who would find the back of the net and strike first blood. The first goal of the night would come at the hands of Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher.
The Tampa Bay Lightning had two opportunities on the Power Play in the first period of play. Unfortunately, the Lightning were not able to capitalize on either of those two opportunities, one of which came in the final two minutes of the period. Ultimately, the Lightning would head into the first intermission trailing the Canadiens 1-0.
Thankfully, when the Tampa Bay Lightning hit the ice for the second period of play, the Lightning looked like they were ready to make things happen. In fact, they wasted no time in making an impression. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman would send the puck flying through the neutral zone and into the Lightning’s attack zone. This is where Lightning right wing J.T. Brown comes into play.
J.T. Brown takes a shot on Canadiens netminder Ben Scrivens, but Scrivens was able to turn the puck away. Brown would turn and fight for the puck once again, but it would be Victor Hedman who would get his stick on the puck and send it across the ice to a waiting Valtteri Filppula. Filppula would draw back his stick and send the puck soaring towards (and into) the back of the net.
Finally, the Tampa Bay Lightning would find themselves on even ground with the Montreal Canadiens. The challenge is going to be maintaining this and eventually getting out on top.
Unfortunately, the challenge would soon prove to be too much for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Just six minutes later, the Canadiens would come back with a goal of their own from Habs center Tomas Plekanec. The assists on the goal would go to Brendan Gallagher and former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mark Barberio. The play started as a battle for the puck in front of the net, but with little help from the Tampa Bay Lightning defense out in front the Habs were able to overcome Bishop.
As the time continued to tick off the clock, the Tampa Bay Lightning would find themselves with their third Power Play opportunity of the evening. The Lightning would forge a pretty good offense during the man advantage, but unfortunately for the Bolts, Scrivens is able to hold strong and the Canadiens were able to kill the penalty.
The bad news is, the Montreal Canadiens weren’t quite done with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second period of play. There was just a matter of seconds left on the close as P.K. Subban is virtually unchallenged in the defensive zone, he send the puck flying toward the back of the net. Instead of blowing past Bishop, the puck banked off the skate of Canadiens right wing Devante Smith-Pelly and eventually into the back of the net.
As you can imagine, the Lightning has not been playing the kind of game fans would have hoped after the events that played out at the Canadian Tire Centre last night, but as the old saying goes, it’s not over until the Fat Lady sings. Well…the Fat Lady has 20 more minutes of hockey before her grand solo. If the Tampa Bay Lightning wanted to come out on top, they were going to have to hit the ice with glorious purpose.
We’re not sure what was said in the locker room between the second and third periods of play, but whatever it was the Tampa Bay Lightning hit the ice with for the third period was certainly not what one would call glorious purpose. While the Lightning did take a few valuable shots on goal, including a two shot run from Hedman, the opening moments of the period were dominated by the Montreal Canadiens.
It wouldn’t be long before the Montreal Canadiens would expand their lead to three. Tomas Plekanec would score his second goal of the night after making easy work of the Lightning defense and making his way to the back of the net. With just over 13 minutes left in the game, the ground in which the Lightning needed to make up continued to expand.
Just three minutes after Plekanec would sink his 2nd goal of the evening, the Tampa Bay Lightning would fight back with a goal of their own. Ryan Callahan would play the puck around the back of the Canadiens’ net when he would send the puck forward to Valtteri Filppula. Filppula would take a shot at the net, but the puck was deflected away by Scrivens. Victor Hedman was able to get control of the puck in front of the net where he would release a backhand shot and send the puck past Scrivens and into the back of the net.
Victor Hedman has worked hard tonight in terms of putting the puck on the net. It’s nice his hard work is finally starting to pay dividends on the ice.
There was just under four minutes left to play in the game when Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper elected to pull Ben Bishop from the net in order to get an extra attacker on the ice. Unfortunately, the move was simply too little too late. Ultimately, the Tampa Bay Lightning would drop their second game in a row as the Montreal Canadiens would defeat the Lightning 4-2 finishing off the Lightning’s back-to-back series.
It is rather perplexing that the Tampa Bay Lightning can play so well at the Amalie Arena, but as soon as they head out on the road things seem to fall apart in the blink of an eye. If the Lightning want to continue to be successful this season and find themselves in a comfortable position heading into the postseason, they are going to have to find a way to win both at home and on the road.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has two days off before they have to get back down to business. On Friday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning will charge back into the Amalie Arena on Friday night as they host the Nashville Predators. Hopefully, the time off will give the Lightning a chance to recharge their batteries, reflect on their mistakes, and be ready to hit the ice against the Predators.
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