The Tampa Bay Lightning entered Tuesday night’s game looking to bounce back against the Montreal Canadiens after Saturday night’s disappointing defeat to the Ottawa Senators. The offense came to life in the second period to help deliver a much-needed victory.
Habs convert on early power play, Coburn strikes back
Both teams came out aggressive and up-tempo to start the game. The Lightning generated some scoring chances early in a back-and-forth first period. Montreal shifted the momentum in their favor with increased pressure on Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, but the reigning Vezina Trophy winner stood tall and denied the Canadiens’ early scoring chances.
Montreal eventually struck first on the power play. With Yanni Gourde in the box for a slashing minor, Jeff Petry gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season.
The Lightning spent the remainder of the period dialing up the offensive pressure. With seven second remaining, Braydon Coburn found the back of the net for his first goal of the season. After falling behind in shots 9-2, Tampa Bay recorded the last 6 shots on goal of the period. The score remained tied at 1 after 20 minutes of play.
Bolts’ pressure continues into the second period
The Lightning began the second period much how they ended the first as the offensive onslaught continued. Just 31 seconds into the period, Montreal defenseman Brett Kulak was called for a hold against Steven Stamkos. As a result, Tampa Bay went to the power play for the first time in the game. The Canadiens generated the first scoring chance of the power play, however. Artturi Lehkonen shot just wide of the net on a 2-on-1 shorthanded chance. The Bolts got things going with the man-advantage just a few seconds later as Victor Hedman found Stamkos in his usual left circle “office.” The Lightning captain fired a one timer past Carey Price to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead. The goal was Stamkos’s fourth of the season.
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The Lightning had no plans of taking its foot off the gas with a one-goal lead as the offensive pressure continued. Only 57 seconds after the Stamkos power play goal, Tampa Bay lit the lamp once again. Ryan McDonagh caught the Canadiens in a bit of a lackadaisical line change and converted a stretch pass up the ice to Ondrej Palat. Palat fired a pass right on the stick of Tyler Johnson, who sniped a wrist shot into the back of the net.
Tampa Bay weathered the storm of two Montreal power plays during the second period. Hedman served a minor for roughing and Mikhail Sergachev for holding the stick. Vasilevskiy continued to be lights out between the pipes, stopping all 11 Montreal shots in the period.
Montreal turns up heat in the third, Vasilevskiy slams the door
The Canadiens came out red hot in the game’s final frame. Vasilevskiy was tested early and often by the Habs pressure in the offensive zone. The Lightning did not make things easy on themselves either. Tampa Bay found itself shorthanded twice during the third period as Nikita Kucherov (slashing) and Kevin Shattenkirk (delay of game) were each sent to the box for minor penalties. However, Montreal was only able to muster one shot combined on those two power play opportunities.
In total, the Canadiens finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play. Their lone goal of the game came on the first period chance with the man-advantage. The Lightning penalty kill went on to stop the next four Montreal power play chances.
The pressure continued to intensify as the period went on, but Vasilevskiy stood tall all night. The frustrated Canadiens attempted one last effort to close the gap by pulling Carey Price with two minutes left in the game. After one last unsuccessful attack on Vasilevskiy, the Lightning emerged victorious in Montreal by a final score of 3-1 despite being out-shot 14-6 in the third period.
The Lightning will take on the Boston Bruins on Thursday night to finish this six-game road trip. The team looks to finish strong after going 1-2-1 thorough the first four games of the trip.
Three stars of the game
1: Andrei Vasilevskiy – Stopped 33 of 34 shots
2: Steven Stamkos – Scored the game-winner and added one assist
3: Nikita Kucherov – Notched two assists
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