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Lightning (mostly) bounce back to beat Montreal

It wasn’t perfect, but the Lightning addressed some of their previous issues after a lackluster loss.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy blocks a Montreal Canadiens shot during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Montreal. [PAUL CHIASSON  |  AP]
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy blocks a Montreal Canadiens shot during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Montreal. [PAUL CHIASSON | AP]
Published Oct. 16, 2019
Updated Oct. 16, 2019

MONTREAL — Call this one a step in the right direction.

The Lightning spent two days on small area battle drills to address their intensity, and it showed on Tuesday. The team spoke about its need for consistency and defensive responsibility. That came through as well.

Their game was not perfect in the 3-1 win over Montreal, but the Lightning demonstrated that lackluster performances like in Ottawa on Saturday are not the ones they want their reputation attached to.

Related: MORE LIGHTNING: Montreal's backup goalie shares some fun emoji game summaries

This wasn’t quite the emphatic exclamation point the dominant win over Toronto was to wipe away the miserable loss to Carolina. But it was a clear difference in how the Lightning played.

“There’s still stuff we can improve on,” Victor Hedman said. “But this was obviously a step in the right direction. I thought we battled hard, I thought we kept them to the outside most of the time, we didn’t give up too many grade-As.”

The Canadiens scored first when Jeff Petry beat Andrei Vasilevskiy from the top of the left circle on a feed from Max Domi for a power-play goal.

After that, the penalty kill stepped up. The Lightning took four more penalties (another area they’d like to work on), but they killed the rest off without even giving up many chances.

That lead stood for four minutes before the Lightning tied it up courtesy of an unlikely source. Braydon Coburn isn’t a goal-scorer but he put one past Carey Price, who he’s been shooting on since Price was 16 and they were playing in the Western Hockey League.

The Lightning possessed the puck so long on that play that they changed lines in the middle. Anthony Cirelli’s line got it started and then Point’s line came in and set up the goal.

The goal, in the final seconds of the first period, gave the Lightning momentum going into the second. Managing momentum was another thing they didn’t feel they did well on Saturday, but executed against Montreal.

Steven Stamkos scored a power-play goal on a one-timer from the left circle a minute into the period and then Tyler Johnson added another 57 seconds later. Three goals in 128 seconds of play — how’s that for managing momentum?

“That’s the skill we have on this team,” Coburn said. “We can strike quick like that and we can take advantage of our opportunities. Those guys were able to do that.”

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves in the game, including 14 in the third period. He stood strong in net through a few scrambles in the crease. He managed to keep the puck out in an instance where the scramble almost pushed him (and the puck) into the net.

Jon Cooper called this game a marginal bounce-back, but felt his team controlled the pace of the game. The team battled the way the coaches have been preaching.

“And then, a couple things crept into our game that weren’t good,” he said. “We took five penalties and you can’t do that.”

He also pointed to turnovers creeping into the game in the third period and called it a “long way to go in our game.” Cooper then said his players made most of the plays they should have.

This was more the case of a team coming on hard, looking to create something facing a deficit than it was the Lightning falling apart late in the game.

There was good and bad in this win. It was a step, but not a perfect showing.

Contact Diana C. Nearhos at Follow @dianacnearhos.


  1. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81) in the third period overtime of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. The Lightning won 4-3 in overtime. [DAVID ZALUBOWSKI  |  AP]
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning center Blake Coleman (20) passes the puck past Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. The Coyotes defeated the Lightning 7-3. [ROSS D. FRANKLIN  |  AP]
  3. San Jose Sharks right wing Barclay Goodrow (23) controls the puck ahead of New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at Madison Square Garden in New York. [MARY ALTAFFER  |  AP]
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik  [Times staff]
  5. The Lightning traded for Blake Coleman, right, eight days before the trade deadline. [ROSS D. FRANKLIN  |  AP]
  6. The Lightning signed defenseman Zach Bogosian, whose contract was terminated by Buffalo earlier this week. [MARK ZALESKI  |  AP]
  7. Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin poses with the puck commemorating his 700th career NHL goal that he scored against the New Jersey Devils in the third period at Prudential Center on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Newark, New Jersey. [PATRICK MCDERMOTT  |  AP]
  8. Carolina Hurricanes right wing Nino Niederreiter (21) and center Martin Necas (88) speak to Hurricanes emergency goalie David Ayres as he takes the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs during second-period NHL hockey game action in Toronto, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) [FRANK GUNN  |  AP]
  9. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) gives up a goal to Arizona Coyotes' Derek Stepan as Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn (2) slides along the ice and Coyotes right wing Conor Garland (83) looks at the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. [ROSS D. FRANKLIN  |  AP]
  10. Fans gather in Thunder Alley at Amalie Arena before the start of the 2019-2020 NHL season home opener between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers on Thursday, October 3, 2019, in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  11. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette shoots as Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury defends during the third period Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights won 5-3. [ISAAC BREKKEN  |  AP]
  12. Columbus left wing Artemi Panarin (9) and Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene (95) celebrate in front of the Lightning bench during the Blue Jackets' first-round victory over Tampa Bay in the first round of the 2019 NHL Playoffs. The four-game sweep was Columbus' payoff for a few deals at the trade deadline for players with expiring contracts. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times]