Puck luck was not in favor of the Lightning as Sam Montembeault halts the Lightning comeback attempt in a 3-2 loss in Montreal. A four-game road trip began tonight in Montreal with Tampa looking to sweep the season series. Montembeault put on a show for the home crowd and throughout the night made it difficult for Tampa’s offense to get pucks past him. While they did generate more scoring opportunities than the Canadiens, the two-goal deficit proved to be too much for the Lightning to overcome.
Habs get on the board first
Starting off, neither team really came up with a good scoring chance in the first few minutes of the period. Afterwards, Lightning struggled to clear the puck but Montreal could not take advantage allowing the Bolts to recover. However, Brandon Hagel was called for tripping giving the Candiens the first power play of the night. Despite some good looks on the man-advantage Montreal could not score and the game remained scoreless. Then, a turnover by the Lightning led to a Canadeins goal. Nick Suzuki took the puck and passed it to Kirby Dach who then scored for the 1-0 lead.
Familiar face adds to lead
Midway through the period it was clear Montreal was in control of the game. A wake-up call was needed for the Bolts in order to tie up the game and cause a momentum shift. Next, Montreal extended their lead thanks to Jonathan Drouin. After being benched the game prior, Drouin came back with vengeance and fired a puck past Andrei Vasilevskiy to extend the lead 2-0. Minutes later Bolts would go on the power play for the first time tonight after Brendan Gallagher is called for tripping. Unfortunately, Tampa could not score on the man advantage leaving the score 2-0 after the first period ends.
Puck luck lands in Bolts favor
Second period began with Tampa Bay hungry for a goal and better puck luck. Tampa looked better in the opening minutes, but momentum continued to stay with the Habs. Lightning continued to apply pressure and play better, but Montembeault remained solid in net. After, Tampa would head on the power play for the second time tonight after Denis Gurianov is called for tripping. Oddly enough all penalties up to this point in the game were tripping calls. On said power play Bolts offense finally comes alive to get on the board. Brayden Point scored with ease on the man-advantage to cut Montreal’s lead 2-1. A sigh of relief could be felt by the Lightning as they looked to even up the score.
And that's *checks notes 📝* 18 power play goals for Pointer!! pic.twitter.com/ZQyUI5rEL7
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 22, 2023
Down by two yet again
Later on, Bolts continued to shift the momentum closer in their favor and looked a lot better than the first period. Pat Maroon and Michael Pezzetta were each sent off for roughing with just under 7 minutes to go in the period. 4-on-4 hockey would follow suit as a result. Montembeault continued to shine as he robbed Nick Perbix twice of a goal with about 5 minutes to go in the period. That was his best save of the night and one of the Bolts best scoring chances of the night. Again, a Lightning turnover leads to yet another Montreal goal. Mike Matheson extended the lead 3-1 with a shot that looked like it went off a Lightning player. Puck luck was not on Tampa’s side despite playing a good period. Prior to the period ending Victor Hedman is called for holding with Montreal leading 3-1.
Silent half of period three
As previously stated, Bolts began the period on the penalty kill. An excellent penalty kill by the Bolts kept Montreal off the board remaining perfect short-handed. Puck luck continued to affect both teams as now the Canadiens began to play sloppy. Since the first period Tampa forced more scoring chances than Montreal but Montembeault has been the star of the show. With halfway of the period to go game remained tilted in Montreal’s favor with no sight of it changing.
Attempting a comeback
Next up, with 5:02 left in the period Lightning made sure to not go down without a fight. Pat Maroon scored to put the Lightning within one as the score was now 3-2 Canadiens. With under a minute to go Vasy is pulled in hopes of tying up the game with the extra attacker on. Puck luck remained to haunt the Lightning which caused a delay in leaving the net empty. To summarize, it was too little to late as the Bolts fall to the Canadiens 3-2. Coming up on the road trip is a match-up with the Ottawa Senators.
Three stars of the game
First Star: Sam Montembeault – Saved 31 of 33 shots faced
Second Star: Mike Matheson – 1 goal and 3 blocks
Third Star: Kirby Dach – 1 goal
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