Game 38: Tampa Bay Lightning versus Montreal Canadiens

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop turns away Montreal's David Desharnais during first period action at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Saturday night. - Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports Images

Another tightly contested game dominated by stellar goalie play on both ends of the ice finds the Lightning on the short end of a 2-1 shootout loss to Montreal.

The Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in a shootout at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Saturday night.

The Lightning resumed post-Christmas break activities that looked an awful lot like their last home game before the break, except for the outcome. Once again, Ben Bishop was outstanding in net for the Lightning, while his counterpart, this time Montreal's Carey Price, was every bit as good, if not better. Bishop fended off 20 of the 21 shots he faced on the night while Price turned away 23 of 24.

Both teams exchanged zeroes in the opening period, with Montreal outshooting the Lightning 7-3 and the Lightning looking somewhat out of sync.

"Our team was really rusty the first couple periods. I thought we played a great third period but you can't win games when you show up for 20 minutes. As far as myself, I felt fine." - Bishop

The Canadiens broke the deadlock at 5:15 when Tomas Plekanec got a backhand shot past Bishop with assitance from Brian Gionta and Travis Moen

The Lightning tied the game at the 11:43 mark when a wrister from Martin St. Louis got past Price. Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat chipped in with assists.

The score remained tied at one at the end of the second, third and overtime periods. The game went to the shootout where Montreal's Lars Eller was the only skater for either side to score.

"We have had a little bit of success there so far and you get greedy. Every time you go on one you want to win it and their goalie made some good saves." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper

"We talk about different things we put into our mindset before we go into the third. I think the other thing is we have either had the lead or it has been tied or close going into the third and it has not been too often that we have been way behind, but if you want to be in the conversation in March and April, you have to find a way to win one goal games and find a way to win the third period and sometimes it is not always going to go your way but if you are consistent enough in the third, it will and it has been like that for us and it was again tonight and we just didn't score. I thought there were times that they were holding on and we just couldn't get that one to break the tie." - Cooper

The Lightning picked up a point for going to overtime but the loss narrows the gap between second place Tampa Bay (23-11-4, 50) and third place Montreal (23-13-3, 49) to a single point in the Atlantic Division.

The Lightning will be in action again tomorrow when they host the New York Rangers.

Game notes:

  • This was only the second OT loss for the Lightning at home this season.
  • St. Louis's goal extends his current points-scored streak to six games.
  • Valtteri Filppula's five-game points-scored streak came to an end.
  • The Lightning's streak of games with at least one power play goal ended at three.
  • After this weekend, the Bolts have five back-to-back scenarios on the remaining schedule.
  • Tonight's attendance was 19,204, marking the fifth sellout at the Forum this season..
  • The past six games between the Lightning and Canadiens, dating back to last season, have each been decided by one goal.
  • St. Louis's goal was the 950th point of his career. He now trails former Lightning head coach Rick Tocchet by two points for 89th place on the NHL's all-time points-scored list.
  • The Lightning honored Paul and Suzanne Avery as the 19th Lightning Community Heroes of the year during the first period of tonight's game.The Avery's, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA). The Avery's took the meaning of love and family to a new level when they found out both their daughters were diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia, a debilitating neuro-muscular disease. They committed their resources and time to help fight this rare disease, not just for their daughters, but for thousands more who suffer from this horrible illness. Paul resigned from his job and started a new organization, FARA, which is devoted to finding a cure for the disease. Paul and Suzanne have collaborated with hundreds of families, researchers, scientists and businesses to make their charity come to life. They both work tirelessly to find a cure for the 15,000 people worldwide who suffer from this disease. Friedreich's Ataxia was first named 50 years ago, and it wasn't until 15 years ago when the Avery's started FARA that they have made tremendous scientific progress for curing thousands of people. Those that suffer from Friedreich's Ataxia are limited to a wheelchair and eventually face terminal consequences due to heart and muscle failure.
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