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Canadiens vs. Lightning Top Six Minutes: Bad Math

Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

First period

  • The one guy you really have to watch out for opens the scoring. Nikita Kucherov is given too much space and scores seconds in.
  • So another comeback win is required.
  • Jake Allen allows a goal on the first shot he faces. That must be double digits for him since joining the Canadiens.
  • The Canadiens do not score on their first shot, but they have one now.
  • They haven’t really tested Tampa Bay’s questionable defence yet.
  • Michael Pezzetta and Joel Armia do get behind that defence on a two-on-one. Pezetta’s pass doesn’t connect, but he gets his feet cut from under him to put the Habs on a power play.
  • That was some hard contact into the boards for Pezzetta, but he seemed to hit it with the entire side of his body to spread out the force.
  • Matheson carries the puck below the goal line, sets up Cole Caufield, but the shot goes off the post.
  • Suddenly Caufield is a bit snakebitten. No goals on his last 20 shots at least.
  • The interference the Lightning run in their own end. It looks very obvious to everyone but the referees apparently.
  • Nick Paul makes it a 2-0 game, A free passing play for Tampa Bay, and the goal is scored on Matheson’s side once again.
  • Juraj Slafkovský had a chance to cut one of the initial passes on that goal, but didn’t have his stick on the ice. Not the worst lapse on that goal, but one that allowed it to happen.
  • He now takes a penalty for a hold on the backcheck.
  • Eight shots, three goals for the Lightning. This one is a power-play goal for the team with the second-best efficiency in the league.
  • It goes in off … Mike Matheson.
  • Alex Barré-Boulet was going to score at some point, so that’s out of the way now.
  • A shot off the post from the left circle, past the defence of … Matheson.
  • I think it’s time to sit him down for a bit.
  • Are there any fresh and rested teams the Canadiens can play? These tired clubs play with too much energy.
  • This game isn’t over if the Canadiens can put some zone time together and create some quality looks.
  • Tanner Pearson and Brendan Gallagher are forced to defend the front of the net after Matheson flies the zone before winning the puck. It’s 4-0. Matheson is -3, and for a lack of trying.
  • Jake Allen won’t be named a star in this one to build up his total for the November Molson Cup. He’s out in favour of Jake Allen.
  • Maybe he just doesn’t want to get traded to Edmonton.
  • Alright, four goals to get a tie might be asking a bit much.
  • It’s quite odd that this stretch of play began right after Martin St-Louis praised the team’s effort in Las Vegas.
  • Back to the power play thanks to Sean Monahan driving to the net.
  • The puck slides back to Matheson, and I was fully expecting that bobble and exit.
  • Kaiden Guhle walks in for a good chance after the power play expires (he really should be on one of the units), takes a hit after the play is over, then gets called for a cross-checking penalty to end that presence.
  • Well we’ll see if Tampa Bay can play another 40 minutes of offence-as-defence.

Second period

  • Job number one: kill the remainder of Guhle’s penalty. And that’s done.
  • Job number two: get the puck out of the defensive zone is proving much more difficult.
  • The ref saw that interference run by Tampa Bay. It’s another Canadiens power play.
  • The second unit gets a good chance after some interplay between Justin Barron and Gallagher.
  • Noe Montreal is starting to put some offensive shifts together.
  • The pressure forces Tampa Bay into another penalty. Make this one count.
  • The Habs players just aren’t as eager to get their sticks on the puck first.
  • Montreal’s best shift of the game comes from the top line, with Slafkovský leading the charge with physical play along the boards. The Lightning commit about four infractions trying to slow them down, but none are called. Because of a trip, the Lightning get a breakaway, but Samuel Montembeault saves it.
  • And the Lightning get a power play from the incompetent officials.
  • Brayden Point has what he thought was an open net, but Montembeault drags his pad to deny him.
  • Monahan gets the puck with no one but Matt Tomkins in front of him. He pulls the puck to his forehand, Tomkins follows it well, and no goal comes of it.
  • A decent period by Montreal, but they didn’t have as much control of the flow as they should have while down four goals. Tampa Bay should have been on its heels, and the Habs need to make that happen in the third to take something from this game.

Third period

  • Job number one: just score a goal.
  • Pearson and St-Louis seem to be having a genial conversation before the period begins.
  • Anderson’s fourth shot of the game gets denied. If only he’d been shooting at 100%. He’s had his looks.
  • Those defensive breakdowns are there, the Canadiens just haven’t exposed them enough.
  • We’ll play a little four-on-four here after a brief kerfuffle.
  • Caufield gets tripped and this one is called. Off to another power play.
  • A nice zone entry from Slafkovský without using the drop-pass.
  • Lots of puck movement, but every pass is just a little bit outside of a shooter’s wheelhouse.
  • Jordan Harris draws a penalty to keep the special-teams play going.
  • A very nice move from Slafkovský all alone in the front of the net to pull the puck to his forehand, but Tomkins is there.
  • Personally, if trying to develop chemistry among Slafkovský, Caufield, and Suzuki, I would have them all on the same unit.
  • Finally a goal. As boos rain down on the top unit for another self-inflicted zone exit, it’s Suzuki who finishes a pass from Caufield, one of the few that a shooter could connect with.
  • Pezzetta scores. Suddenly this doesn’t seem so impossible.
  • The Canadiens’ run of power plays is probably at an end now, however.
  • Tempers flare in Montreal’s end after a good response from the Lightning. Arber Xhekaj is assessed an additional minor penalty to shift momentum into Tampa Bay’s favour.
  • At least the faceoff is outside after the defencemen got involved in the scrum.
  • A two-on-one with Jake Evans and Joel Armia doesn’t result in a chance, but recognizing that is about to happen, Evans turns back, plays the puck to his defenceman, and another 20 seconds come off the clock.
  • With the penalty killed, the Habs go right back to work in the offensive zone with two dangerous shifts.
  • Kucherov had a chance to get in behind the Habs again, but Slafkovský cut off the pass. Lesson learned from the first period.
  • Evans gets a holding call with three minutes to go, and that will snuff out the flicker of hope for a completed comeback.
  • A power-play goal for Tampa Bay ensures it.
  • A late Christian Dvorak goal gives the crowd one last thing to cheer about.
  • Lightning take this one 5-3.

EOTP 3 Stars

3) When do the bye weeks start?

2) The Canadian drought isn’t all coincidence

1) Let’s all just forget this one ever happened