MONTREAL — Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier rolled up the sleeve on his left arm to reveal two red bruises, the result, he said, of two slashes from Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.
The confrontation between the two with 8.5 seconds left in the first period Thursday night at the Bell Centre ended with Lecavalier putting a two-hand slash on Subban and getting a game misconduct.
The incident overshadowed Tampa Bay's 3-2 shootout loss. The Lightning (39-22-10) has to worry about a possible suspension for Lecavalier, who also got a five-minute major penalty and an immediate $200 fine for the ejection.
"He slew-footed me a couple of times in front of the net," Lecavalier said of Subban. "And when I went around the net, he slashed me twice on the wrist, and that's when I turned around and slashed him back."
Subban went down holding his left arm. But the Lightning said its replays showed Subban was slashed on the thigh.
"I don't know about getting kicked out of the game," Lecavalier said. "Obviously, he came back, and he was well on the next shift."
Subban was unavailable to reporters after the game.
Lecavalier wasn't the only loss for Tampa Bay. Coach Guy Boucher said Simon Gagne will miss perhaps several games for treatment on the neck injury that kept him out of 18 games in October and November.
"It's nothing new he got (Thursday)," Boucher said.
Losing Lecavalier left Tampa Bay with just 10 forwards. Still, it played with energy and outshot Montreal 37-29.
"We play a team game," center Dominic Moore said. "It's nothing we can make an excuse for."
The Lightning got power-play goals from Teddy Purcell and Gagne, the latter 9:29 into the third period to tie the score 2-2.
Marty St. Louis had two assists, but his flub of Purcell's pass at the Canadiens' blue line sent Brian Gionta on a shorthanded breakaway that gave Montreal a 2-1 lead at 3:58 of the third.
It was the 12th shorthanded goal allowed by Tampa Bay, tied for the league lead.
The Lightning lost the shootout 2-1.
But the story was Lecavalier and Subban, who traded cross-checks and slashes for 30 seconds in front of a referee who failed to stop it before it escalated.
"Obviously," Boucher said, "Vinny is not the type to lose his cool over nothing."
"I deserved the penalty," Lecavalier said.
But the center said Subban milked it by staying down on the ice:
"Oh, of course; he was fine the rest of the game. … I just think we both should have had penalties. If I was going to get kicked out of the game, he should have, too."
|Canadiens win shootout 2-1|
First Period—None. Penalties—Gagne, TB (hooking), 6:13; Ohlund, TB (interference), 15:13; Gomez, Mon (holding), 18:49; Lecavalier, TB, major-game misconduct (slashing), 19:51; Subban, Mon (slashing), 19:51.
Second Period—1, Tampa Bay, Purcell 17 (St. Louis, Gagne), :35 (pp). 2, Montreal, Kostitsyn 18 (Desharnais, White), 5:40. Penalties—None.
Third Period—3, Montreal, Gionta 25, 3:58 (sh). 4, Tampa Bay, Gagne 12 (St. Louis, Clark), 9:29 (pp). Penalties—Subban, Mon (hooking), 3:07; B.Pouliot, Mon (roughing, holding), 6:58.
Overtime—None. Penalties—None. Shootout—Tampa Bay 1 (Stamkos NG, St. Louis NG, Gagne G, Purcell NG), Montreal 2 (Dawes G, Gionta NG, Desharnais NG, Cammalleri G). Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 9-11-14-3—37. Montreal 12-9-6-2—29. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 2 of 5; Montreal 0 of 3. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Roloson 20-22-4 (29 shots-27 saves). Montreal, Price 34-23-6 (37-35). A—21,273 (21,273). T—2:41. Referees—Steve Kozari, Chris Rooney. Linesmen—Pierre Champoux, Jonny Murray.