After eclipsing the 60-win plateau for the first time ever, the Tampa Bay Lightning traveled to Montreal looking to earn wins in back-to-back nights while also chasing the all-time single-season wins record. With Andrei Vasilevskiy getting the night off and Louis Domingue day-to-day with a lower-body injury, Eddie Pasquale received the starting nod between the pipes for just the second time this season.
In a valiant effort, Pasquale kept the Lightning in a game in which they were clearly outplayed, but in the end, his 41 saves weren’t enough. The Canadiens denied Tampa Bay a chance to make more history by taking down the league-leading Lightning 4-2 at the Bell Centre. The loss ended the Bolts’ five-game winning streak over the Habs. In addition, the Lightning can now only tie Detroit’s single-season win record of 62 thanks to tonight’s setback.
A lackluster start.
The Lightning started off the game playing at a fast pace, but that didn’t translate to many shots. They spent some time in the Canadiens’ zone, but Montréal spent far more time in the Lightning’s end of the ice. They stormed goalie Pasquale at every turn, putting lots of shots on net, getting in front of the net, and putting rebound after rebound on Pasquale.
Tampa’s defense tried it’s hardest to contain the Canadiens, but had a tough time stopping them. The Lightning capitalized with the first goal of the game on a pass out in front from Steven Stamkos that deflected off of Montreal’s Max Domi. Soon after, the Canadiens tied it 1-1 after ex-Lightning forward Nate Thompson scored from an open look in the slot. Montréal created 12 scoring chances, and luckily for the Lightning, Pasquale held them to one goal.
Pasquale continues keeping Montreal at bay
In the second period, Montreal came out firing like they did in the first. Despite their barrage of shots, Pasquale remained dominant. Cedric Paquette put the Lightning back up with his career-high 13th goal of the season on a backhand out front on goalie Carey Price, who would finish the night with 22 saves. The Canadiens soon answered with a goal from Joel Armia, banking a shot off Pasquale to make it 2-2.
A true test of will versus skill.
In the third period, it seemed as if the game would be determined by will versus skill. Despite the Lightning’s high skill level, the Canadiens’ will overcame that, powered by their desperation to stay in the playoff race. Montréal came out of the gates in the third period with the will in their eyes and capitalized for two goals in the third.
Artturi Lehkonen whacked a loose puck into the net to make it 3-2 while Domi took advantage of a defensive breakdown to boost the Canadiens’ lead to 4-2. Montreal had Tampa’s number all night as they were the stronger team in terms of both puck possession and putting pucks on net. Despite pulling Pasquale late for an extra attacker, the Lightning couldn’t muster any more offense and Montreal picked up the win.
The Bolts continue their road trip on Thursday night when they travel to Toronto for a 7 PM puck drop with the Maple Leafs.
Our Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star: Steven Stamkos – Scored the first goal of tonight’s game
2nd Star: Artturi Lehkonen – Scored the game-winning goal for Montreal and earned an assist on the final goal.
1st Star: Eddie Pasquale – Despite giving up four goals, he single-handedly kept the Lightning in it to the very end, making 41 saves on 45 shots.
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