Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning falls to Canadiens (w/ video)

MONTREAL — Coach Jon Cooper said a "budding rivalry" has been brewing with the Lightning and Canadiens, a product of battling in the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.

Though that took a hiatus last season, with Montreal missing the playoffs, it looks like another chapter in the rivalry could be added this spring. If Thursday's game, a 3-1 Lightning loss at the Bell Centre, is any indication, these teams are evenly matched and will likely battle for the top spots in the Atlantic Division.

"That's the way it seems like," wing Alex Killorn said. "I know it's early in the season to say that, but they're a team that plays similar to us, have got some great players. They kind of changed that team over the summer. But we know what we're capable of. It's the first of four (regular-season) meetings, and it'll be exciting."

For a late October game, there was a noticeable buzz around town about this showdown. Part of it was that Montreal (7-0-1), coming off a win over the Islanders the night before, was undefeated in regulation, and it stayed that way to move five points ahead of the Lightning (5-2-0) in the division. The teams were ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in's power rankings.

Tampa Bay not only lost the game, it lost star wing Nikita Kucherov, who left after the first period with an undisclosed injury. Coach Jon Cooper didn't know how long Kucherov would be out but hoped it wouldn't be too long. The issue wasn't concussion-related, he said.

"(Kucherov is) one of our best players, and he's dynamic out there," Killorn said. "Especially in a game like this, when you're down, he's a guy you look to to score."

There wasn't much room to maneuver in the very tight-checking game. It took 12 minutes for the Lightning to get its first shot on goal, partly a product of Tampa Bay playing "too simple," Killorn said.

Killorn gave the Lightning the lead late in the second, picking up his team-leading sixth goal. He deflected a brilliant slap pass from the point by defenseman Victor Hedman.

"(Killorn has) been hot lately, so I tried to put it on his stick," Hedman said. "He did the rest."

The Canadiens battled back with three third-period goals. Alex Galchenyuk tied it on a power-play goal six minutes in, a one-timer from the right circle.

Midway through the third, Max Pacioretty floated a wrist shot through traffic, and a significant screen by Andrew Shaw, to beat goalie Ben Bishop, who had another stellar duel with the Canadiens' Carey Price. Montreal was 1-for-3 with the man advantage, the Lightning 0-for-3.

"Their power play came through, ours didn't," Hedman said. "That was the difference in the game."

Montreal added an empty-netter to seal the win.

Bishop (23 saves) and Price (30) lived up to their Vezina Trophy-caliber statuses. And with three more meetings between the teams, the next Dec. 28 in Tampa, there will likely be more of the same.

"We wanted to make this a tight game," Hedman said. "And it was."

Canadiens 0 0 3 3
Lightning 0 1 0 1

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesNamestnikov, TB, (hooking), 2:23.

Second Period1, Tampa Bay, Killorn 6 (Stralman, Hedman), 16:08. PenaltiesBeaulieu, MTL, Major (fighting), 2:56; Paquette, TB, Major (fighting), 2:56; Johnson, TB, (tripping), 5:32; Lehkonen, MTL, (holding), 19:37.

Third Period2, Montreal, Galchenyuk 2 (Petry, Markov), 6:12 (pp). 3, Montreal, Pacioretty 2 (Pateryn, Shaw), 10:23. 4, Montreal, Mitchell 4, 19:16. PenaltiesMarkov, MTL, (delay of game), 1:26; Nesterov, TB, (roughing), 4:58; Shaw, MTL, (holding), 19:26. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 4-13-14—31. Montreal 9-8-9—26. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 3; Montreal 1 of 3. GoaliesTampa Bay, Bishop 3-2-0 (25 shots-23 saves). Montreal, Price 4-0-0 (31-30). A21,288 (21,273). T2:32.

Lightning falls to Canadiens (w/ video) 10/27/16 [Last modified: Friday, October 28, 2016 7:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494