When the Lightning thinks about Tuesday night's 4-3 shootout loss to the Canadiens, it will focus on the third period.
Specifically, the last six minutes when three goals erased what had been a 3-0 Montreal lead and earned the team a regulation tie and its first point in five games in front of an announced (but not really) 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
"We take this one point and build on a positive," defenseman Victor Hedman said. "Come in (today) and practice hard, keep our heads up."
That has been tough for Tampa Bay (6-5-1) as a four-game losing streak, including a 0-3-0 road trip, created a taste of adversity.
Add a first period that incensed the team — referees Ian Walsh and Dave Jackson awarded the Canadiens five power plays, including a five-on-three on two questionable calls that led to Brian Gionta's goal and a 1-0 lead with 42.4 seconds left — and the Lightning was behind the eight-ball again.
But Hedman scored with 5:56 and 1:43 left in the third to make it 3-2. And when Sami Salo's slap shot from the blue line — on a six-on-four power play with goalie Anders Lindback pulled — trickled past goalie Carey Price off the skates of Montreal's Josh Gorges and Raphael Diaz with 43.3 seconds left, it seemed the Lightning finally recalled what had sparked its 6-1-0 start.
"We realized how hard we have to play if you want to win," wing Marty St. Louis said, and added, "Our early success, it's haunting us a little bit. We almost had it too easy too quick. We didn't have to earn it as much."
Anders Lindback earned it Tuesday with 31 stops, including an extraordinary reach-back stick save on Andrei Markov in the first period and six saves in overtime. Montreal's David Desharnais was the only player to score in the shootout.
Even so, "I'm pretty sure that hasn't happened very often, with six minutes left you come back from three goals," coach Guy Boucher said. "We have to build on a positive and that's an extreme positive."
The negative started when Alex Killorn was called for a phantom hooking penalty and Hedman for roughing. Hedman deserved it but Erik Cole deserved something for hitting Hedman without the puck.
The result: a five-on-three and Gionta's goal.
"A five-on-three we don't deserve," Boucher said. "Hedman gets driven, he's got no puck."
And when Montreal went up 3-0 on second-period goals by P.K. Subban and Travis Moen, "It became real heavy on the bench," Boucher said. "There's no positive stuff to draw from."
That would wait for the third period.
Damian Cristodero can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8622.
|Canadiens win shootout 1-0|
First Period—1, Montreal, Gionta 3 (Plekanec, Subban), 19:17 (pp). Penalties—Emelin, Mon (interference), 3:37; Salo, TB (freezing the puck), 4:20; Conacher, TB (goaltender interference), 8:30; Lee, TB (interference), 13:29; Killorn, TB (hooking), 18:03; Hedman, TB (roughing), 18:48.
Second Period—2, Montreal, Subban 3 (Eller), 8:21. 3, Montreal, Moen 1 (Eller, Armstrong), 18:54. Penalties—Cole, Mon (high-sticking), 1:05; Pacioretty, Mon (holding), 3:16; Moen, Mon, major (fighting), 11:01; Crombeen, TB, major (fighting), 11:01; Prust, Mon (roughing), 14:06.
Third Period—4, Tampa Bay, Hedman 3 (Pyatt, Pouliot), 14:04. 5, Tampa Bay, Hedman 4 (Purcell, Salo), 18:17. 6, Tampa Bay, Salo 1 (Lecavalier, St. Louis), 19:16 (pp). Penalties—Tampa Bay bench, served by Pouliot (too many men), 11:54; Bouillon, Mon (roughing), 16:17; Lee, TB (goaltender interference), 16:17; Plekanec, Mon (tripping), 18:56.
Overtime—None. Penalties—Brewer, TB (tripping), 2:26.
Shootout—Montreal 1 (Galchenyuk NG, Desharnais G), Tampa Bay 0 (Hedman NG, St. Louis NG, Stamkos NG). Shots on Goal—Montreal 8-9-11-6—34. Tampa Bay 9-7-7-1—24. Power-play opportunities—Montreal 1 of 7; Tampa Bay 1 of 5. Goalies—Montreal, Price 7-3-0 (24 shots-21 saves). Tampa Bay, Lindback 5-3-1 (34-31). A—19,204 (19,204). T—2:54. Referees—Dave Jackson, Ian Walsh. Linesmen—Jay Sharrers, Jonny Murray.