Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay game recap: Struck by Lightning

Steven Stamkos netted two as Tampa Bay beat the Canadiens.

It’s Hockey Fights Cancer month and, as always, the Montreal Canadiens opened the night with a wonderful ceremony, this time celebrating some local youngsters in the middle of their own battles. Consider making a donation here:

In true Max Domi fashion, he started the game with a bang. Less than a minute into the first, Jeff Petry got the puck out of the Habs’ zone, Domi fought his way down the middle, and netted the first of the game.

The Canadiens dominated much of the first half of the period, but a questionable call on Nicolas Deslauriers led to Tampa’s first goal and a definite momentum shift.

As the clock ticked down on the power play, Nikita Kucherov tried for the one-timer, regained the rebound, and sent it over to Steven Stamkos, who made good. Tampa kept the pressure up and a bad turnover by Charles Hudon let J.T. Miller walk right in and shoot one top shelf past Carey Price to give the Lightning the lead.

A huge glove save by Price kept the score at 2-1 at the end of the first, with shots on goal 18-12 in favour of Tampa.

The pace settled down a bit into the second period and the teams looked more evenly matched. A few solid chances at either end offered tests, but both goaltenders stood tall.

Joel Armia pushed past the Lightning defence though was stopped by Andrei Vasilevskiy. Shortly after, Hudon and Jonathan Drouin flew in and Vasilevskiy also stopped that attempt.

A holding call on Mathieu Joseph sent the Habs back to the power play. The Canadiens had some excellent chances yet again but couldn’t tie it up. Joseph managed to hop on the puck right out of the box but Price absolutely stoned him to hold the score steady, leaving his side down just a goal heading into the final frame.

Though there were no goal highlights from the second, Brendan Gallagher is always good for a laugh. He may not be graceful, but damned if he misses out on an attempted hit.

Just 52 seconds into the third Stamkos added his second of the game: a beautiful shot that snuck by Price into the top corner. Montreal had a tough time getting much going for the first half of the third period and Tampa Bay did a great job of shutting down offence by limiting chances on Vasilevskiy.

Drouin took a tripping penalty with seven minutes left in the third. While Montreal was able to kill this one off, Tampa controlled the play following the power play. Brayden Point threw one toward Price, who couldn’t control the rebound, and Yanni Gourde tapped it in.

The Canadiens received their fourth power play with about three minutes left and simply couldn’t get anything set up.

This was one of the biggest tests for the Habs so far this season. Tampa took advantage of the mistakes they made, and Vailevskiy stood on his head when it mattered.

On to New York, where the Habs play back-to-back games versus the Islanders and Rangers beginning on Monday night.

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