MONTREAL — History is out of reach.
Eddie Pasquale tried his darndest, but the Lightning will not break the NHL wins record this year. The best Tampa Bay can hope for is to win its final two games and tie the record.
Montréal proved the old cliché about who wants the win more. The Lightning looked, for the first time, like a team with nothing to play for.
The Canadiens kept their playoff hopes alive, spoiling Tampa Bay’s effort for 63 wins with a 4-2 win.
Pasquale, in his second NHL start in net, made 41 saves in the game. He single-handedly kept the Lightning in the game, making 18 saves in the first period alone. Despite the lopsided play, Tampa Bay still had a chance through more than 40 minutes.
Then with 12:13 left to play, Artturi Lehkonen put Montréal on top for the first time and the hopes of a new record dimmed. When Max Domi converted a turnover into a mini-breakaway a couple of minutes after that, the Lightning’s chances were all but snuffed out.