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The Canadiens were about five minutes short of a win against the Lightning

The Canadiens outplayed the Lightning for most of the game, but lost it in about five minutes.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens should have beaten the Tampa Bay Lightning last night. Outside of about five minutes from the end of the first period into the early second, the Habs dominated the game. The problem is that during that five minute lapse, the lightning scored three times.

Just take a look at this chart, which depicts exactly where things went wrong, near the end of the first period.

Natural Stat Trick

They got caught on a long shift at the end of the first and the game was tied. Then a quick power play goal to start the second, and a very impressive Tyler Johnson shot made it 3-1. It was a total of about five, maybe six bad minutes from the Habs, but it was enough to put them in a hole.

From there, Andrei Vasilevskiy did what Vezina-winning goaltenders do, sealing the deal for his team despite the Canadiens’ onslaught. They had their chances, but Vasilevskiy was there to cover for his team any time the opposition was actually close.

It’s hard to find fault in how the Canadiens played outside of those aforementioned five minutes of game time. You could argue that they didn’t put forth enough offense to dig themselves out of the hole it created, but they were all over their opponents, so you’d be hard pressed to argue that they didn’t do enough. It probably would have been enough against most teams.

The simple fact is that they ran into an elite goaltender — something that has happened to many visiting teams before — and they couldn’t beat him. If you’re going to take issue with anything from the Habs in that game, it would be with that small stretch where they gave up the three goals.

Jeff Petry scored an excellent power play goal. Max Domi looked like a very dangerous forward. Carey Price made some quality saves despite giving up the three goals. It was a really good game from the team, they just killed themselves with that one bad stretch.

And even then, it is somewhat forgiveable to have a five-minute lapse against one of the NHL’s elite teams. A team like Tampa only needs that much — perhaps even less — to hurt you, and then you’ll have a hard time coming back.

There was more good than bad for the Habs last night, so even though they didn’t get the two points, it could be a sign of better things to come.