This analysis contributed by Jay Frank.
The Tampa Bay Lightning dropped their fourth game in a row last night to the streaking Montreal Canadiens, who have now themselves won four straight. 20,274 were in attendance to watch the Habs 4-2 victory over the Bolts.
Montreal jumped ahead five minutes in with a power play goal from Hal Gill that bounced in on Dwayne Roloson. Not three minutes later, Sean Bergenheim took a bad penalty which led to another Montreal power play goal from David Desharnais. Late in the period, the Habs took a penalty, which allowed the Bolts to get a power play opportunity to start the second.
Which they did. A minute and a half into the second, Dominic Moore starts the scoring for the Lightning, shoveling a Pavel Kubina rebound past Carey Price with Teddy Purcell and Pavel Kubina picking up the assists.
15 minutes into the second period, Montreal struck back with another power play goal from Max Pacioretty, leaving the Lightning down 3-1 going into the third period.
Not two minutes into the third period, the Canadiens’ Max Pacrioetty got his second goal of the game off of a broken Lightning play which led to a two on one.
Two minutes later the Lightning gain a 5-on-3 opportunity, in which the Lightning couldn’t capitalize, only having two shots on goal on the entire power play. This missed opportunity basically ended the chance for the Lightning to come back.
Late in the third period, Dominic Moore shows his hard work ethic by staying on the puck behind the net and getting it out to captain Vincent Lecavalier for the Lightning’s second goal of the game. Teddy Purcell had the other assist on the too little too late goal.
As a final push, the last minute and a half of the game where the Lightning had an extra attacker was a nail-biter. The Bolts moved the puck pretty well and pushed hard to try to get another goal, but just couldn’t find the twine.
The Lightning’s first period was one of the worst of the season. They had no heart, no hustle, no nothing. “Our urgency level was very low and theirs was very high,” Said Boucher about their slow start. “The teams that are chasing us right now seem to have more urgency.” Simple yet poignant as always Boucher. The team took a couple bad penalties, both leading to power play goals, the first that they’ve allowed since February 19th.
The Bolts showed a complete lack of speed throughout the game. “Montreal came out flying,” Said Captain Vincent Lecavalier. “They were first on pucks. In the second and this I thought we played better, but the execution wasn’t where we wanted it to be. When you’re down 2 – 0 it’s tough to come back.”
The Lightning played exceptionally bad in their own zone. Their defensive positioning and ability to move the puck out of the defensive zone led to three power play goals
The lack of execution wasn’t helped by the exceptional play of Carey Price and Montreal’s special teams units. The Lightning had a 5-on-3 in the second period and just couldn’t capitalize. Lecavalier also had this to say about the lack of capitalizing: “It just seemed like we weren’t on the same page. That 5-on-3 power play we didn’t have much. We’ve just got to get back to basics and get some shots, open the lanes up and get the puck on the net.” This is also apparent by the substantial shot advantage, with the Lightning outshooting the Canadiens 45-23.
The Lightning have 17 games left in their regular season, and every game is going to be important, especially with a majority of those games against teams in playoff contention. They will have to play like they want it and play like they mean it. Hopefully this game isn’t a sign of a late season meltdown and serves as more of a reality check for the skidding Lightning.