The first period started off slow for both teams as the Canadiens managed to get three shots on goal in the first few minutes of the period while the Lightning managed none. Vladislav Namestnikov took a hooking penalty though and gave the Canadiens an early power play chance.
The Canadiens only managed one shot on goal on the power play and one more shot in the first half of the period. The Canadiens wouldn’t produce another shot on goal until there was only 3:30 left on the clock. In the mean time though, the Canadiens had multiple breakaway opportunities. Two of those opportunities were negated by Ben Bishop taking a little skate out of his crease including a diving play to cover the puck and then pass it out of the zone.
The Lightning took a long time to get their first shot on goal: over 12 minutes into the first period on a shot by Alex Killorn. The Lightning did recover a little bit and produced a few more shots before the end of the period. While the game moved back and forth throughout the first, there weren’t a lot of shots making it on net for either team. The first period ended scoreless with Montreal leading shots on goal 9-4.
The second period opened up with head coach Jon Cooper shaking up the forward lines. Nikita Kucherov had taken a fall early in the game and went into the boards and did not come out for the second period. Steven Stamkos went back between Andrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin as they had started the season. JT Brown joined Valtteri Filppula and Point. Killorn, Tyler Johnson, and Namestnikov formed another line with Brian Boyle and Cedric Paquette forming the fourth line with fill-in players double shifting.
Paquette created a great chance for Drouin that Price saved. With Paquette reaching in at the still loose puck, Montreal defenseman Nathan Beaulieu took exception and cross-checked Paquette, which initiated a fight and a bit of a scrum. Both players went off with five minute majors for fighting.
The Lightning picked up a little momentum after the fight, but that was cut short as Johnson took a tripping minor as he was fighting for the puck in the corner. The Lightning’s penalty kill continued to look good, only allowing one shot on goal during the kill.
The Lightning began to pick up momentum and chipped away at Montreal’s shots-on-goal lead, eventually cutting it to 16-15 with a few minutes to go in the period.
The Lightning then finally found the back of the net. After a dump in from the neutral zone, Namestnikov went into the corner and won the puck back to Anton Stralman at the right point. With pressure coming, Stralman quickly moved it to Hedman. Hedman took a second to survey the situation and slapped the puck just wide of the net.
With Killorn working his way to the front of the net, he got his stick on the puck and deflected it past Carey Price.
When you’re going against one of, if not the, best goaltenders in the world, you have to use every trick in the book. Deflections. Lateral movement. Picking corners. Price isn’t going to give up many leaky goals, so you have to beat him with skill and creativity.
The Lightning got their first power play of the game with 22 seconds to go in the period after Hedman was taken down. The period ended with 1:38 left on the Lightning power play and with the shots on goal tied at 17.
The Lightning started the period off on the power play, but didn’t get a whole lot going. With 12 seconds left with the man advantage, Andrei Markov shot the puck from his own end and into the netting above Bishop, resulting in a minor penalty for delay of game. The Lightning got another 2 minutes of power play with 12 seconds behind 5-on-3. However, the Lightning couldn’t get the puck past Price.
The Canadiens tied the game on a power play with a one-timer from Alex Galchenyuk. Nikita Nesterov took a roughing penalty by taking down Brendan Gallagher after Gallagher had jabbed at Bishop after he covered the puck. Nesterov took exception to that and Gallagher escaped without taking a penalty. Andrej Markov found a seam through the box to find Galchenyuk for the one timer.
It didn’t take long after Galchenyuk’s goal for the Canadiens to take the lead. Max Pacioretty came out of the corner unchallenged after a great chance off the rush by Andrew Shaw. Shaw made it back to the front of the net and screened Bishop. He didn’t pick up the puck until late and it got past him short side as he was leaning towards the middle to get a view of the puck.
Despite the Canadiens being on the back side of a back-to-back, Price was rested and up to the challenge of weathering the storm in the third period. The Lightning picked up a lot of steam and were getting shots on net, but couldn’t get it past Price. With Bishop pulled for an extra attacker, Hedman put the puck to the middle of the ice, but Montreal was able to get the puck and score an empty net goal.
The Lightning did get a 6-on-4 power play with 33 seconds to go, but there wasn’t enough time for the team to even if up even with the advantage.
The Lightning got off to a bit of a slow start in the first period but looked much stronger in the second. They closed the gap in shots on goal in the second and picked up a goal Alex Killorn, his sixth of the year. However, in the third period, Montreal came back with a power play goal and then a screened shot goal. Despite surging in the third period, the Lightning just couldn’t solve a rested Price and ended up falling 3-1 in the end.
- Jason Garrison had a pretty good night. He was taking shots from the point almost all game and ended up with six shots on goal plus three more misses.
- Brown had more ice time than normal, getting up to 13:43. He was moved up in the lineup with Kucherov leaving the game after the second period. With him moving up, it does lend some credence that when Ryan Callahan returns, if Brayden Point isn’t sent down, Paquette could be the odd man out in the lineup.
- Bishop had a great night. He did have some adventures in the first period leaving his net, but they were smart decisions that prevented scoring chances. He only allowed two goals: a power play one-timer and a screened goal from the top of the circles. You would take a two goals against performance from him on almost any night.
- Point continued to get chances with three shots on goal and two more that missed. It really is just a matter of time until he finds the back of the net.
- Killorn’s sixth goal of the season puts him tied for first in the NHL with Auston Matthews and Richard Panik.
- Jon Cooper had no update on Nikita Kucherov’s injury during his postgame press conference.
Up next, the Lightning travel to New Jersey to take on the Devils on Saturday followed by a game against the New York Rangers on Sunday. Expect Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy will split the back-to-back games.