The Canadiens had taken a 3-0 lead into the late stages of the game on goals by Brian Gionta, P.K. Subban and Travis Moen. All three goals in the comeback came from defencemen. Victor Hedman scored the first two and then when the Canadiens best penalty killer Tomas Plekanec called for tripping with 1:04 Sami Salo banked a puck off Raphael Diaz skate past Carey Price to tie the game. The Canadiens outshot the Lightning 6-1 but couldn’t score, sending it to the shootout. David Desharnais scored the only goal in the skills competition and Carey Price stopped Hedman, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.
The Ups and Downs –
Not Quite Perfect – For 54 minutes the Canadiens were dominant. It looked like one of those well-played road games. The last six minutes not so much. A combination of a lucky bounce and a penalty cost the Canadiens.
Rebounding – In pregame speeches coaches implore their players to start strongly. The Canadiens came back from their dreadful effort against Toronto with a strong opening ten minutes. After Emelin drew a penalty by taking away a scoring chance from Cory Conacher in the 4th minute, Canadiens speed forced the Lightning into five straight penalties.
Keeping His Cool – Canadiens on the power play in the final two minutes and Victor Hedman took a roughing penalty on Erik Cole In front of the Tampa net. Cole stuck to his guns in front and Hedman drew the roughing minor, putting the Lightning two men short.
Staking a Claim – Both Bourque and Gionta parked in front of the Tampa net Tomas Plekanec threw it in front and it was Gionta who put it in.
“Big D” – The biggest night of the season for the Canadiens defence to a man. Everyone was excellant, from Emelin and Markov to Gorges and Subban to Bouillon/Diaz. They gave Carey Price a pretty easy night.
The Comeback – The three Tampa Bay goals were generated by their defence. Victor Hedman pinched in to make it 3-1. They pulled their goaltender and Hedman scored again with 1:43 remaining. Goaltender still out and the pressure on, Plekanec was whistled for tripping. And Sami Salo’s shot caromed off Raphael Diaz skate and barely crossed the line past Price to tie it.
The Kill – The Canadiens were shorthanded through four of the first 5 minute of the second period. Their penalty killing units, led by Plekanec/Prust and then Armstrong and Moen, did not allow a shot on goal. Three minutes later P.K. Subban made it 2-0. All tolled through the first two periods the Canadiens played shorthanded 6:43 allowed only one shot.
Bonus Points – Eller/Armstrong/Moen were all plus-2 for the night.Eller assisted on the Subban goal that made it 2-0. Moen acted as a screen. Then late in the period both Armstrong Eller and Moen were at the crease when Colby Armstrong threw it in front. Moen eventually put it in.
Déjà Vu – Seven minutes into the game the Canadiens Brendan Gallagher tracked down Alexander Killorn. As Killorn was unloaded the puck Gallagher hit him into the stanchion that divides the players benches. Eerily reminiscent of the Pacioretty/Chara with the difference being the curved edge on the glass that prevented another serious injury.