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Bottom Six Minutes 27: The epitome of tanking

The Canadiens snatched defeat from the jaws of victory after 57 minutes of pretty good hockey.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Montreal Canadiens saw the Tampa Bay Lightning, we were living in a different world. The Habs had surprised the hockey world, and were opposite the defending Stanley Cup champions in the finals. We know how that turned out, and though things have gone downhill in Montreal since then, they’d still hope to have another surprise in store on Tuesday night.

Welcome to your Bottom Six Minutes, in which I’ll discuss a surprising effort still falling short for the Habs.

They played 57 minutes and change of pretty good hockey, particularly considering all of the injuries they’re currently dealing with. In what could only be described as one of the purest microcosms of tanking, they managed to lose both their lead and the game itself in the final three minutes. It wasn’t intentional as the term “tanking” tends to suggest, but it definitely served that end.

Your silver lining of the night is the play of one Alexander Romanov. It was tempting to go with Nick Suzuki — who had himself another multi-point night — but Romanov really stood out. He’s been showing measured improvement throughout the year, and his physicality was on full display against the Lightning. If he can continue on his current improvement trend, it would be a very welcome silver lining to this overall disappointment of a season.

It’s hard to be mad about this particular game, as they played quite well, all things considered. Of course, it doesn’t appear to be getting any easier on the injury front, as Christian Dvorak left the game and did not return. They may not be intentionally tanking, but the hockey gods appear to be trying to force their hand.

Click the play button below for my full thoughts, and as always we will return after Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.