The Habs were looking to win their second straight on Tuesday night as they welcomed the Tampa Bay Lightning to town. The Lightning were aiming to bounce back from a loss in Ottawa on Saturday while the Habs were trying to build off an impressive win against the Blues in their last time out. Montreal kept the same lineup as they featured Saturday with Carey Price getting his third straight start in net.
The Canadiens started off well in the first, but two quick goals to start the second were too much to overcome. In the end, the Habs dropped a 3-1 decision to Tampa Bay.
The game got off to a slow, tentative start. Through the first eight minutes, both teams were just getting a feel for each other. There were a few shots on net from each team, but no real high danger scoring chances yet.
With seven minutes to go, Jonathan Drouin picked up the puck with a burst of speed at centre ice. He fired a shot that was kicked out by Andrei Vasilevskiy; the rebound went right to Jeff Petry, but the Tampa netminder stood tall to keep the scoreless tie.
The third line had another chance when Joel Armia collected his own rebound and wrapped it around but could not squeeze it through Vasilevskiy. He did, however, draw a slash to send Montreal to the first powerplay of the night.
The Habs had some good possession on the power play and just over a minute in they struck. Max Domi picked the puck up at the blueline and set Petry up for a perfect one-timer just under the bar. The power play delivered again giving the home side a 1-0 lead.
In the last minute of the period, the Habs were holding off a late barrage from the Lightning. Unfortunately, the Habs defenders were stuck out on the ice for too long, and with seven seconds left Brayden Coburn was able to draw Tampa even on the scoresheet as he fired one home from the point.
Early on in the second period, Brett Kulak was sent off for holding. On a shorthanded break, Phillip Danault fluttered a perfect pass to Artturi Lehkonen and he hit the post. Coming back, Stamkos was able to one-time a shot past Price to give the Lightning the lead.
Shortly after that, Tampa Bay extended their lead on a disorganized change by the Habs. Tyler Johnson took advantage of some poor coverage in transition and doubled Tampa’s lead.
Halfway through the second period, Petry made a perfect hip-check on Nikita Kucherov. The Habs came back the other way and Danault was hit high, resulting in a roughing penalty. They had some very good puck movement while up a man but were unable to find the net.
With six and a half minutes to go in the second, the Habs had a few glorious chances but could not capitalize. However, Tampa was called for holding the stick to send Montreal to another power play but they were unable to convert.
For the remainder of the period, the Habs pressed to try and cut into the deficit but they could not beat the Tampa netminder and had to go to the dressing room still trailing by two.
The Habs had a couple of close calls in front of the Lightning net to start the third, but Vasilevskiy stood tall. Then, four minutes in after a nice move at centre, Domi was slashed and the Habs had another power play.
The Habs had an uneventful man advantage. They were unable to gain the zone very often and when they did Tampa Bay cleared rather easily.
With seven minutes left, the Habs were given their fifth power play as Kevin Shattenkirk was called for shooting the puck over the glass. This gave the Habs another key chance to pull within one. It was more of the same on the advantage. The Habs held the puck for most of the two minutes but could not find the net.
Montreal pulled Price with just over two minutes left in an effort to make a comeback. However, they were still unable to generate any offence, and the game ended in favour of the Lightning, 3-1.
HabsWorld Habs Three Stars
First Star – Jeff Petry
Petry scored Montreal’s lone goal on a great shot from the point. He was a key part of the Habs power plays and played well at five on five as well.
Stats: 1G, 6 SOG, 24:04 TOI
Second Star – Jonathan Drouin
Drouin’s point streak unfortunately came to an end tonight, but he still looked like the Habs fastest and most skilled forward on the ice. He was playing at a high pace and creating scoring chances for his teammates in the game.
Stats: -2, 3 SOG, 19:09 TOI
Third Star – Max Domi
Domi made a great pass to set up the Habs lone goal. He also drew penalties and made some good plays with his speed. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get the puck to bounce his way tonight, otherwise, he could have had a couple of goals.
Stats: 1A, 5 SOG, 17:30 TOI
Honourable Mention – Nick Suzuki
Suzuki was in Julien’s doghouse after a bad effort on an icing call led to a Tampa goal. After that, however, his play looked much more inspired. He had many good, looks on the power play, and made some good passes as well. He was also given more responsibility as the game went on.
Stats: 14:49 TOI