To say the Tampa Bay Lightinng’s game against the Montreal Canadiens was a roller coaster ride would be an understatement. After a promising start, and a second period that was probably one of the better periods the Lightning has played over the course of the year, the third period was one of the worst of the year and resulted in the team to have a 15 minute closed door players only meeting after the team blew a 3-1 lead and lost to the Montreal Canadiens 4-3.
The Lightning came out in the first period with a lot of jump, and played a physical brand of hockey that we have not really seen from then this season consistently. Montreal was able to take advantage of that and get off to a quick start, firing off the first six shots of the game. The Lightning did settle down a bit and ended up tilting the shots on goal, taking a 10-7 shot advantage into the first intermission.
The scoring would open early in the second period when Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis and Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis would connected on a give-and-go that saw Stamkos convert for his 19th goal of the season. Montreal would tie the game when Tomas Plekanec fired a laser from the slot for his 11th goal of the season.
The Lightning would open up the game a bit, scoring the next two goals to extend the lead to 3-1. Sami Salo would get on the board first when he converted on a shot from the point to give the Lighting a 2-1 lead. The Lightning would then add another when Ryan Malone had a puck deflect in off his foot with the man advantage to give the Lightning a 3-1 lead.
From there, it looked like the Lightning would have no trouble getting to the finish line and collecting the two points.
Then, the third period struck.
It started with a goal mouth scramble that would see Brian Gionta finally tapped the puck into the net that got the Canadiens back to within a goal. From there the wheels would come off a bit as the Canadiens would add goals from Alexei Emelin and Brendan Gallagher to complete the comeback for Montreal.
The most disturbing part of the comeback was the idea that the Lightning could not generate at least one shot on goal until late in the third period, a frame that the ended up with only two shots in.
“We are not hungry to win and we are scared to lose right now and it shows,” Lightning forward Steven Stamkos said. “In the first 10 minutes instead of keeping the pressure on them, we are dumping pucks into nobody, just giving the puck right back to them, and the game is about puck procession and we are giving the puck right back to them. They get a power play, come breaking out of their zone, they score and get the momentum now and it’s a different game.”