The Tampa Bay Lightning drew first blood with a double overtime 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre Friday night. Michel Therrien juggled the lines while Tampa Bay fielded the Game 7 winners from Wednesday night.
Montreal dominated most of the first period as they hit a couple of posts and were denied on the goal line by Ben Bishop. Each team failed to score on their single power play opportunities in the period. Tampa Bay pressed late but Carey Price withstood the barrage. Jeff Petry took a shot off the foot and laboured off the ice in considerable pain. It was tied 0-0 after 20 minutes with shots favouring Tampa Bay 12-10.
Petry started the second period as Canadiens fans breathed a sigh of relief. Alex Galchenyuk took a pair of penalties in the second period, bringing his total to three, while Tampa Bay took one, but neither team could take advantage. The goaltenders dueled with great saves, but Bishop one upped Price on a silly two-on-one save on Tomas Plekanec. It remained deadlocked at 0-0 with Montreal leading 22-19 in shots after 40 minutes.
The third period started with a power play each and more nothingness on the man advantage for either side. Tyler Johnson scored a go ahead goal early in the frame on a nice tip that Price had chance on. There was a scare for the Lightning with Johnson leaving the ice with an apparent injury, but he did return.
The wall that was Bishop finally cracked, and it was of his own doing as he badly bobbled Max Pacioretty’s easy shot into the net, with 5:13 left in the period. A late Galchenyuk chance was turned aside by Bishop as time ticked away to overtime. It was 1-1 after 60 minutes, with shots in Montreal’s favour 32-25.
Overtime began with both teams probing each other. Nikita Kucherov had a great chance early in the extra frame on a breakaway but was denied before pushing Price’s pad into the net, with the puck following in. The goal was waved off immediately, and confirmed no goal upon further review. The Canadiens grew into the period and forced some big saves out of Bishop, but it would need at least another overtime period to figure it out. Shots were 44-33 for Montreal.
Dale Weise had a great look early in the second overtime, but missed the net. Not to be denied, Kucherov popped one past Price shortly after and there was no doubt about that one. The shots ended 44-36 Montreal.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star – Carey Price
Beaten by two good goals, he made the saves you’ve come to expect of him. He played the puck well and remained a calming presence when it looked like no one could beat Bishop.
33 saves on 35 shots – 1.46 GAA – .943 save percentage
2nd Star – Max Pacioretty
Not the finest goal of his career, but they all count. Aside from finding the score sheet, he was involved and looked like the Max Pacioretty before his late season injury.
1 goal – 0 assists – +1 rating – 5 shots – 2 hits – 3 takeaways – 26:34 TOI
3rd Star – P.K. Subban
He played the most out of anyone from either side. There were a few too many unnecessary pirouettes in the offensive zone for my liking, but he was a driving force at both ends of the ice. They need to find a way to free him up on the point, not enough cannons. Five giveaways needs to be remedied as well.
0 goals – 1 assist – even rating – 1 shot – 0 hits – 0 takeaways – 37:53 TOI
Honourable Mention – Alex Galchenyuk
Talk about a roller coaster ride of a game. He took three penalties but Therrien did not staple him to the bench and he replied with a very hard work ethic and generated some chances offensively. It will come for the youngster. Clearly not his finest, but he gets a nod for the character he showed tonight.
0 goals -0 assists – even rating – 2 shots –1 hit – 1 takeaway – 16:28 TOI
Stat of the Night
25. The wrong 25. That would be 25 giveaways for Montreal. No analysis needed, Tampa Bay had 10. That needs to be shored up in a hurry.
Game 2 in Montreal is on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.