(Article written by Casey Wells.)
The trade deadline revealed that Montreal GM Pierre Gauthier has accepted that the Canadiens will not be vying for the playoffs this year. The post deadline Canadiens were in Tampa Bay Tuesday night to take on the 11th place Lightning. Most of the excitement for Canadiens fans came from getting their first glimpses of Blake Geoffrion and not from the scoreboard as the Habs lost 2-1. Usually non-NHL players are not given an option on numbers, but Montreal management made an exception. Geoffrion chose number 57 in homage to his grandfather Bernard “Boom Boom” Geoffrion and his great grandfather NHL legend Howie Morenz, numbers 5 and 7 respectfully.
Montreal looked good in the beginning, but an early goal by Steven Stamkos seemed to take the wind out of the Habs’ sails. A quick tip pass to Stamkos gave him plenty of time and he made no mistake breaking between a sloppy looking P.K. Subban and stretching Carey Price to put in his 44th of the season. Later in the period Erik Cole brought both of the defensemen with him to the net as David Desharnais fired in his 13th of the season through the Cole screen to tie it at 1. Price was looking less then sharp in the first, after making a dangerous pass to Tomas Plekanec from behind his net and looked to have problems containing his rebounds throughout the game.
Less than a minute into the second, Alexei Emelin and Raphael Diaz looked weak as Adam Hall tipped in a centering pass from Ryan Malone to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead. Mathieu Garon was doing his best Superman impressions during the game, and was a difference maker on numerous Montreal chances. The Canadiens did themselves no favors and did not capitalize on their scoring chances shooting wide of the net when it was open.
A hard hitting Emelin was receiving some unwanted attention during the game. After he and Lightning player Ryan Malone exchanged some hits, he was assessed a 2 minute minor for interference. As Emelin was making his way to the bench after the Montreal Canadiens killed the penalty, Malone came in to exchange pleasantries with the young defenseman. The result was a fighting penalty for Emelin, a bench interference call on Brad Staubitz, and Malone received the instigator, fighting misconduct and game misconduct for unsportsmanlike. The result was a 5 minute power play for the Canadiens which can be broken down into one word. Brutal. The players failed to click, and in a one goal game, they were unable to maintain any strong pressure on the net.
In the third period, Staubitz made his presence felt in his first game and found a dance partner in Pierre-Cedric Labrie. The two exchanged blows, but neither one went down. An uneventful remainder of the third period saw your Montreal Canadiens lose their 5th in a row, scoring only 5 goals in their last 5 games.
– Steven Stamkos lead the league for most goals with 44
– Recently acquired Blake Geoffrion and Brad Staubitz made their Habs debut
– Montreal won only 5 games in February
-Brad Staubitz had 17 PIM in 3:51 of ice time
– Blake Geoffrion was the only player with a plus rating for Montreal