The crowd was unbelievable, and it took just 11 seconds for P.K. Subban to spring Rene Bourque for a breakaway, with the rejuvenated Bourque putting the puck over Anders Lindback's blocker and into the net for a one goal lead. Then the crowd went mental.
What followed was a period of extreme dominance by the Montreal Canadiens, putting unrelenting pressure on the Lightning and Lindback, who somehow kept the score the same, robbing the Habs of several grade A chances.
In spite of all the pressure the Habs had applied, a questionable call on Daniel Briere allowed Ondrej Palat to capitalize on a bad bounce right in front of Carey Price and tie the game at one. The call on Briere was especially odd considering Ryan Callahan and Steven Stamkos had both gotten away with brutal hits from behind a few shifts beforehand, but the Canadiens would get their own break shortly after.
With the Canadiens scrambling, Alex Killorn drove the net and managed to knock Carey Price completely out of the net. With the puck still in play, Price vaulted back into the crease, and collided with Killorn again, who had been driven into the net and held there momentarily by P.K. Subban. Still off balance and trying to track the puck, Price attempted to slide to the right and make another save, but he couldn't recover and the puck slid into the net.
The goal was immediately waved off, to cheers from the Bell Centre faithful, and jeers from social media, and anger from the Lightning bench. The fact is though, as stupid as it all looked, the right call was made on the play. Killorn initiated the contact with Price on the play, and even though it wasn't his fault Price bumped into him the second time, he continued to invade Price's space, and stopped him from recovering in time to make a save.
Capitalizing on the Lightning's misfortune, P.K. Subban went full on Peter Forsberg and went on a solo mission to create a goal, skating circles around the Lightning and causing Palat to faceplant behind the net before finding a lane to set up Brendan Gallagher for the go ahead goal in the final minutes of the second period.
Montreal turned the pressure back up in the third period, until Tomas Plekanec finished off a play that was initiated by Brendan Gallagher taking a hit behind the net, allowing Brandon Prust to scoop up a loose puck and give it to Plekanec. While the goal was a bit of a snipe, it was a little bit weak as well considering how much time Lindback had to set up, reminding us all how different this series could be going with Ben Bishop in net.
Matt Carle managed to bring the score within one, but once again the Canadiens came out on top, and once again they outplayed the opposition. The Canadiens have put up the third best Fenwick percentage while the score is close in these playoffs at 56.2%, a vast difference from their awful regular season numbers.
Michel Therrien has returned to the aggressive two-man forecheck of last season, and has his team playing equally aggressive between the blue lines. Defensemen are rarely playing passive and allowing Lightning players to gain the zone with speed, constantly forcing dump ins, or even better, turnovers.
The series is not over yet, but for the first time since 1993, the Canadiens have a 3-0 series lead, and for once, they deserve all the praise they're getting.