Hoping to put an 0-4 road trip behind them, the Lightning had to mount a furious comeback in the final six minutes to overcome a mostly lethargic effort and erase a three-goal deficit and earn a point for getting into overtime.
"Our battle level was only there consistently in the third. It's a hard league and you've got to earn it every night. We've got to earn every period and we didn't start earning it until the third. Obviously, we were able to grind a point out of it so that's a positive." - Lightning forward Martin St. Louis
A sloppy, penalty-filled first period didn't bode well for the Lightning. Spending much of the time shorthanded due to five penalties, they were fortunate to hold Montreal off as long as they did. But at 19:15 with Alex Killorn and Victor Hedman in the box and Nate Thompson missing a stick, Brian Gionta tallied what was essentially a 5-on-2 power play goal with assists from Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban.
Montreal carried the 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Canadiens lead was doubled to two at 8:21 when Subban scored on a shot from just inside the blue line. He was assisted by Lars Eller.
The period ended with the Canadiens holding a 3-0 lead.
At 19:16, on the power play and with goalie Anders Lindback pulled for the extra attacker, the crowd (most of whom were still in the building) erupted as Salo tied the game with assists from Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis.
With the score tied at three, the teams headed to overtime, the Lightning's first extra period this season.
Lindback bailed the Lightning out in overtime, much of which was spent shorthanded, turning away all six shots he faced. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay could only muster one unsuccessful shot, sending the teams to a shootout.
Montreal's David Desharnais, the Canadiens second shooter, was the only skater to score in the shootout, giving Montreal the 4-3 win. Lightning shooters Hedman, St. Louis and Stamkos all came up empty.
"I think our early success this season is haunting us a little bit. We almost had it too easy, too quick. I don't want to take away from any of our wins but we didn't have to earn them as much. Our power play was strong and we were putting away teams early in the game." - St. Louis
"We showed a lot of character in the third. Obviously, the second wasn't good enough, turning three-nothing. We told ourselves to go out there and leave it out there and I think we did battle hard and came back and got a point." - Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman
The Lightning will be in action again on Thursday when they host the Washington Capitals.
- Stat of the game? When does 12 equal 20.5? When labor issues shorten a season to 48 games. With a "full" quarter of the season in the books, the Lightning find themselves at 6-5-1, 2nd place in the division and 9th in the Eastern Conference, on pace for 52 points, with six games played at home and six on the road.
- The Lightning have sold out all six home games this season.
- The Lightning have scored 22 goals in the third period this season.
- This was the first multi-goal game of Victor Hedman's NHL career.
- Benoit Pouliot now has six points (two goals, four assists) in his last seven games.
- Richard Panik made his NHL debut tonight for the Lightning, taking 14 shifts in 9:58 of ice time.
- The Lightning honored Leonard Black as the 22nd Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game against the Montreal Canadiens. Black, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Honor Flight West Central Florida. An American war hero, Black served the United States military for more than 25 years, defending the country during World War II. After losing his son at the age of 24, he was inspired to help serve other people. His wife of 54 years also suffers from Parkinson's disease and made him promise that he would always help others. Black is a crucial church volunteer distributing food to 28 families across the Tampa Bay area. He also coordinates patriotic observances for Hillsborough County. While in the military, Black attained the highest enlisted rank, Chief Master Sergeant. Being such a devoted military hero, Black saw the need to help the 32,000 World War II veterans living in West Central Florida to get to Washington, D.C. for free to see their memorials built on the National Mall. He has helped organize honor flights for more than 500 local World War II military heroes.Hero