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Tampa Bay Lightning loses 3-2 to Montreal Canadiens in overtime

MONTREAL — Karri Ramo said he likes facing a lot of shots in a game. But there is a difference between getting enough work to stay focused and being under siege.

As the Lightning goaltender said after Thursday night's 3-2 overtime loss to the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, "You don't want to spend 90 percent of the game in your own zone."

But that is where Tampa Bay found itself as playoff-hungry Montreal, clinging to the East's final postseason spot, rarely allowed the Lightning a way out and built a 36-19 shot advantage.

Had Ramo not been superb, the Lightning (24-33-17) would have been buried.

Instead, Tampa Bay got third-period goals by David Koci, his first in the NHL, and defenseman Lukas Krajicek, to overcome a 2-0 deficit, earn a point for the regulation tie and add to a 3-0-2 road streak.

Saku Koivu's backhander 1:45 into the extra period off a scramble in front of the net was the winner.

Lightning right wing Marty St. Louis said that didn't change that Ramo "was big."

"Unfortunately, we weren't able to create more for him," St. Louis said.

What an odd pattern Tampa Bay is in. For the second straight game, it had fewer than 10 shots after two periods — seven against Columbus, eight against Montreal — and for the second straight game, goaltending and a third-period rally sent the game to overtime.

It even squeaked out a win against the Blue Jackets. But that is no way to survive against teams elevating their games for playoff drives.

"A lot of us have not experienced the speed of these games," St. Louis said. "It will benefit guys to see that and know this is how it is this time of year."

In other words, the Lightning has to be better prepared to play.

"It can't be anything else, because we play like it in the third period," Ramo said. "We need to learn how to win. Even if we have eight games left, we have to be better and get a good 60 minutes and learn from that."

Given the shortness of the season, coach Rick Tocchet said, "You're doing patchwork." Starting next season, though, "The attention to detail has to be our No. 1 priority," he said.

Otherwise, there will be more games such as Thursday's, with an 8-1 disparity in penalties, one shot from Vinny Lecavalier and St. Louis, none from Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone, and an opponent that took 76 shots, 34 of which were blocked and six that missed the net.

Good thing Ramo, with 33 saves, was up to it. "He played his (rear end) off," forward Ryan Craig said. "It's disappointing we didn't get the victory for him."

Canadiens 1 0 1 1 3
Lightning 0 0 2 0 2

First Period1, Montreal, Kovalev 20 (Tanguay, Schneider), 11:09 (pp). PenaltiesPetiot, TB (hooking), 7:36; Malone, TB (holding), 10:25; Welch, TB (high-sticking), 18:30.

Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesKostopoulos, Mon (tripping), :45; Petiot, TB (slashing), 3:01; Hall, TB (high-sticking), 9:38; Lashoff, TB (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:38; Lapierre, Mon (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:38; Malone, TB (hooking), 17:51.

Third Period2, Montreal, G.Latendresse 12 (Kostopoulos, Markov), 5:48. 3, Tampa Bay, Koci 1 (Hall, Craig), 10:26. 4, Tampa Bay, Krajicek 2, 14:43. PenaltiesRamo, TB, served by Karsums (roughing), 2:05; Prospal, TB (elbowing), 10:57.

Overtime5, Montreal, Koivu 15 (Markov, Plekanec), 1:45. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 2-6-11-0—19. Montreal 11-13-9-3—36. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 1; Montreal 1 of 8. GoaliesTampa Bay, Ramo 4-7-6 (36 shots-33 saves). Montreal, Price 22-14-8 (19-17). A21,273 (21,273).

Tampa Bay Lightning loses 3-2 to Montreal Canadiens in overtime 03/26/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 27, 2009 6:36pm]

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