Though the games against New Jersey and Boston lost despite a fair effort, tonight's loss was driven by a late start to the game, and a general lack of urgency.
Boucher's reaction? Shock.
With 17 games left in the season, it's no mystery that every game is important and needs to be won--or at least come close. But last night, the Lightning failed to arrive until the second period, but by then it was too late.
Vincent Lecavalier, who played despite lingering
energy injury, noted the contrast between Tampa Bay and Montreal. "They came out flying. They came out ready to play."
Read more after the jump.
The Habs took an early advantage with a goal from Hal Gil five minutes into the period. Gil took the shot from the front of the net, and went through the defensive line to bounce in off of Dwayne Roloson.
The Bolts had a physical 14 hits in the first period, but were unable to capitalize on any of their 13 shots on goal.
At eight minutes, Sean Bergenheim took a roughing penalty, resulting in a second goal for Montreal from David Desharnais on the power play.
Down two, there was little luck for the Bolts in the first, until a tripping penalty to Lars Eller resulted power play at 19:28, giving the Bolts the man advantage going into the second.
Capitalizing on the power play, Dominic Moore opened the scoring for the Lightning a minute and a half into the second, with assists from Teddy Purcell and Pavel Kubina.
But the lone goal didn't prove any resurgence for the Lightning. With another goal from Max Pacioretty, they finished the second period trailing 3-1.
Pacioretty scored again in the first minute of the third to raise the score 4-1.
Vinny, with six shots for the entire night, brought the score 4-2, but with enough opportunities missed, including a minute and a half 5-on-3 opportunity, the game was already finished.
Blame it on officiating, blame it on injuries, blame it the Canadiens having better motivation to win. The bottom line is that with three consecutive losses, it's looking like the Lightning are in a slump.
Hopefully tonight was a wakeup call.
Up Next: The Lightning will continue the home stand on Monday, March 7 playing against the Washington Capitals at 7:00. If you aren't in attendance, be sure to stop by the game thread.
Canadiens vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]
Canadiens vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]
Habs Eyes On The Prize [SB Nation]