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2015 NHL Playoffs Game 12 recap: Tampa Bay Lightning fall to Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in Game 5

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The Tampa Bay Lightning showed up for half of one period and got the result they deserved -- a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5, as the series lead shrinks to 3-2.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

After getting blasted on home ice in Game 4, the Tampa Bay Lightning were looking to "reclaim their identity" in Game 5 as the series shifted back to Montreal.

That identity? Still looking for it.

The Montreal Canadiens controlled the pace of play for most of the game, especially at even strength, and thus drew the game's only three power play opportunities, which helped them keep momentum on their side for most of the game. Devante Smith-Pelly opened the scoring in the 1st period on a quick transition play through neutral ice, driving wide and burying a high shot over Ben Bishop's shoulder that clanked in and out but gave the Habs a 1-0 lead.

Montreal continued to control the game, however, even with Tampa Bay down a goal for much of the middle third; there were scoring chances on Carey Price, but they were few and far between as the Lightning struggled to generate much in the way of consistent, offensive/pressuring shifts. Jon Cooper had the forward lines in a blender with an 11F/7D alignment to no avail, as the Habs continued to defend their own blue line well and force the Lightning into ineffectual chip-and-chase play.

With the Habs back in more of a defensive shell to start the third period, the Lightning finally started to crack through, and eventually tied the game when Steven Stamkos collected a loose puck following an Anton Stralman point shot and ripped it past a screened and scrambling Carey Price for a 1-1 game. But the Bolts couldn't sustain the momentum at even strength, went on a draining penalty kill following a costly Andrej Sustr high-sticking penalty, and ceded a game-winner to P.A. Parenteau off a blistering one-timer again over Bishop's shoulder.

We're still waiting for the Tampa Bay Lightning team that dominated Montreal during the regular season to show up. Maybe Tuesday night at Amalie Arena will finally be the night, as the series lead has shrunk from 3-0 to 3-2.

Game Notes
  • Montreal won the possession battle once again, but Tampa Bay wasn't without their dangerous opportunities. Brenden Morrow shot a golden look right along the ice and into Carey Price's pads early and Valtteri Filppula elevated a puck on a 2-on-1 with Steven Stamkos right towards the top corner but Carey Price made an outstanding save.
  • One of just a few bright spots for Tampa Bay -- Anton Stralman.
  • The Montreal Canadiens, in all their storied history, have never come back from a 3-0 series deficit to even force a Game 6. They've done that now. Tampa Bay has to take care of business on home ice now, or Tuesday night could very well be their last game at home this season.
  • Steven Stamkos scored a goal, his 2nd of the series and the playoffs, so can we please shut up about all that now.
  • Ryan Callahan, on the other hand, he of the 6-year, 34.8 million dollar contract, is still unseen in these playoffs. Some nice physical play here and there, yes, but drastically underperforming his regular season play and his contract. He has 0 goals in 12 games.
  • The 11F-7D alignment saw Nikita Nesterov draw into the lineup, who had a forgettable night in managed minutes. More importantly, it led Jon Cooper to blend his lines quite a bit; the best combination with Stamkos seemed to come when Valtteri Filppula spent most of the third period there. Stamkos thrives off the rush and with playmakers who can keep pucks alive in the offensive zone. Filppula is those things in spades.
  • Some rough stuff at the end of the game, maybe caused by this. Stamkos' eyes on the puck the whole time; Subban just looking to mug his guy as soon as he could: