The Habs were looking to even up their second round series on Sunday night. Unfortunately, indiscipline got the best of them as the Lightning collected four power play goals en route to a 6-2 victory.
The Canadiens made one lineup change as David Desharnais didn’t play due to an illness. That meant that Brian Flynn drew back in while all of the line combos were juggled. The highlight for many was the reuniting of the ‘EGG’ line.
The Habs came out strong to start the game, generating lots of chances while being strong at the faceoff dot. Flynn had a wide open chance early on but couldn’t beat Ben Bishop. Montreal had a power play shortly after that but couldn’t generate much.
Unlike last game though, they weren’t stifled for the entire opening frame as a Jeff Petry point shot beat Ben Bishop to give the Canadiens only their second first period tally of the postseason. However, indiscipline set in after that.
Brandon Prust took a roughing penalty and then followed that up by taking an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by continuing to smack Braydon Coburn around, right in front of the referee. Both teams had a prime chance (Montreal’s coming from Flynn once again) but neither team scored. Shortly thereafter, P.K. Subban took a completely stupid and unnecessary cross-checking penalty and this time, the lack of discipline proved costly as Valtteri Filppula beat Carey Price through an Alexei Emelin screen with less than 30 seconds left in the period. To make matters worse, Torrey Mitchell nearly scored just moments before that. The shots through 20 minutes were 14-9 Montreal.
The Habs had a pair of early power plays in the second period. Naturally, nothing good came from them and the attackers looked lazy and disinterested for most of the advantage which turned out to be a sign of things to come.
A few minutes after the second of the power plays, Jason Garrison threaded a perfect pass to Steven Stamkos who came in on a breakaway and deked out Price to give the Lightning the lead. Many fans hoped this would spark Montreal to get a comeback going. That didn’t happen. Instead, they threw in the towel.
The lazy, stupid, and selfish penalties continued. With the teams at 4-on-4, Tom Gilbert took an unnecessary crosscheck penalty. Seconds later, Nikita Kucherov doubled Tampa Bay’s lead.
Determined to try to equal the dumb penalties shown by his blueline mates, Petry got into the action, taking a late interference penalty with the puck on the other side of the defensive zone. Less than a minute later, Victor Hedman made it 4-1. Tampa Bay had two PPG’s in eight playoff games coming into this one but had three through 40 minutes. The shots in the period were 8-5 for the Lightning but the road team controlled the play considerably more than that.
It was more of the same in the third period. Mitchell took a goalie interference penalty and less than 30 seconds later, Kucherov got his second of the night to make it 5-1. Tom Gilbert managed to get one back but that was as close as Montreal got. J.T. Brown restored the four-goal lead with a perfectly-placed (and very odd) redirection with just under four minutes to play.
Late in the game, Prust decided to throw a bit of a tantrum. After tripping Bishop, he finally got Coburn to engage in a fight. When that ended, he threw an elbow pad at the Lightning bench, drawing a 10-minute misconduct, a game misconduct, and possibly some supplemental discipline for his troubles.
Prust wasn’t done there, as he tore into Brad Watson after the game. His comments will undoubtedly will draw the ire of the league (and other officials as well).
Price wasn’t to blame for the loss but he wasn’t at his best, making just 18 saves on 24 shots. Bishop wasn’t tested all that often after the first but he made 27 saves in the win. Special teams were the difference in this one as the Habs were 0/3 with the man advantage while the Lightning were 4/8.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star: Brian Flynn – The surprise late addition to the lineup wound up being a pleasant surprise for the Habs…quite possibly the only one too. He had quite a few chances and hustled throughout the game. Had he buried one of those chances, the game may have gone differently but nonetheless, he played well.
Stats: 0 points, -1 rating, 2 shots, 1 block, 3/5 faceoffs, 14:18 TOI
2nd Star: Alexei Emelin – Usually, I’ll have him in my three stars when his physical play makes a difference in the game. That’s not the case in this one though. Emelin made several strong defensive plays in transition to break up what would have been quality scoring chances. He was quiet but quite effective.
Stats: 1 assist, +2 rating, 2 PIMS, 21:30 TOI
3rd Star: Jeff Petry – I’d have had him higher but his bad second period penalty leading to the fourth goal essentially was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Beyond that, he played well at both ends of the ice.
Stats: 1 goal, +1 rating, 2 PIMS, 2 shots, 2 hits, 21:30 TOI
Honourable Mention: Tomas Plekanec – There weren’t a whole lot of chances after the game got out of hand but Plekanec seemed to have a hand in a few of the ones the team did get. He was also their top player at the faceoff dot, something that can’t be said on too many nights.
Stats: 0 points, -1 rating, 2 shots, 16/26 faceoffs, 20:54 TOI
Stat of the Night: There isn’t much to be hopeful about after a game like this but the last three times that Carey Price has allowed five or more goals in a game, the Canadiens have won his next start each time.
The Habs will have two days to regroup as Game 3 is slated for Wednesday night.