Tampa Bay was run out of their building for the first 15 minutes of the opening period against the Montreal Canadiens. It took the Lightning over 12 minutes to register their first shot on goal and by that point, they were already trailing 2-0. It looked as though the holiday break had lulled Tampa Bay into a sleepy return, until Alex Killorn scored with under a minute left in the period to give the Lightning a momentum shift entering the second.
They took that momentum en route to a four goal outburst as Steven Stamkos (his 800th NHL point!), Mitchell Stephens (his first NHL goal!), and Killorn all tallied goals to stun the Canadiens into an abrupt timeout. Montreal would answer immediately after the break as Ben Chiarot scored off a rebound by Andrei Vasilevskiy to cut Montreal’s deficit to one.
The third period saw Tampa Bay clamp down on the Canadiens even more. The even possession game went fully in the Lightning’s favor at 5v5 in the third (58%) as well as the quality battle (74%). Tampa Bay set the pace within 55 seconds when Anthony Cirelli made it 5-3 after cleaning up a rebound in front of the net. Montreal managed to push back late in the period and make it a one goal game on Jordan Weal’s power-play goal.
The Lightning weathered Montreal’s late surge to secure their second consecutive win during this critical stretch of games against divisional opponents.
Next up, Detroit tomorrow evening.
Tampa Bay certainly didn’t start on time, but once they got their footing near the end of the first period, they controlled the game moving forward. However, they cannot afford to start that poorly. They were fortunate to be down by a single goal after the first period, and their second period explosion was more due to luck than we’d like to admit. That said, they did an exceptional job crawling back into this game after having their doors blown off early.