The Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay lightning 2-1 in overtime at Amalie Arena in Tampa Saturday night.
Picking up a single point in overtime obviously isn’t the worst possible outcome from tonight’s game against the division leaders. But when the team you’re chasing continues to gather two at a time as remaining games on the regular season schedule dwindle to a small handful, it’s far from ideal.
“They’ve (Montreal) got a good team, but we’re playing all these good teams down the stretch here and we’re hanging with them all. It’s really, really encouraging, but as I’ve said many, many times, we’re running out of games here.” - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper
Over half the game was played before anybody got on the scoreboard. The Canadiens’ Phillip Danault solved that equation at 14:24 of the second, beating Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy on an assist from Max Pacioretty.
For the Lightning, it marks the eighth consecutive game where they’ve surrendered the first goal, a stretch marked by a 4-3-1 record.
The 1-0 Montreal lead would hold all the way until Yanni Gourd tied the game for the Lightning at 11:38 of the third. He was assisted on the play by Victor Hedman and Jonathan Drouin.
Regulation ended with the teams knotted at one.
Nikita Kucherov nearly won it for the Lightning 39 seconds into overtime but his shot went wide. Just 12 seconds later, Alexander Radulov scored the winner for the Canadiens, assisted by Pacioretty and Danault.
“... that cliche of there's a fine line between winning and losing? You know that was it. We got the right guy in the right spot, the puck on the stick and it's too bad cause it rolls on him at the very end. And that’s a tough break at the end. And then the other guy comes down and he didn't get all of that either.” - Cooper
The Boston Bruins beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 in a game played in Boston earlier. As a result, the Lightning now trail the Bruins by four points (90 - 86) while retaining a game-in-hand. Boston has four games remaining while the Lightning have five. The two teams will meet in Boston on Tuesday.
“The first period was a little bit of a snoozer and they came out in that second half of the second period and really took it to us. And Vasilevskiy, he gave up the one but clearly he kept us in it. But, kind of the signature of this team, they found a way in the third to will us at least a point and give us the chance that we had in overtime. So I look at it as a complete positive because we got a point out of the game and we can sit here and say, ‘They got the better of us tonight.' I guess there's not much wiggle room left, but not getting a point out of that game would have been devastating." - Cooper
The Lightning will host the Dallas Stars tomorrow.