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MTL@TBL: About Thursday night…

Minus Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher, the Canadiens were blanked in the Sunshine State

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

TAMPA - Here are a few key storylines from Thursday night's 4-0 loss to the Lightning at Amalie Arena.

Tough start, tough result

Forty-nine seconds. That's all the Lightning needed to establish themselves and get their scoring mojo going on home turf.

When veteran defenseman Victor Hedman beat goaltender Carey Price early in the first period, he quickly set the tone for a contest that eventually led to the Canadiens being blanked for the first time this season.

The fact that Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher were both out of the lineup didn't help Montreal's cause, of course, but captain Shea Weber wasn't about to use their absence as an excuse.

"We didn't finish. I think we were a little sloppy early, especially in the first period," said Weber. "It might make a difference if you finish those [chances], but at the same time, we gave them, a high-powered offense, you can't give them 2-on-1s and easy goals like that."

Video: Shea Weber on standing up for Nick Suzuki

Twelve minutes after Hedman lit the lamp, Alex Killorn found the back of the net to put Tampa Bay ahead by a pair.

And there was simply no coming back against netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made 32 saves to register the shutout.

"We look back and we had chances. They were able to score on theirs and we weren't able to score on ours," explained Jeff Petry, following the disappointing result in the Sunshine State. "We had looks with the goalie down, we had a couple of breakaways, and I think if we capitalize on a few of those, it gives us a little bit of momentum and it's a different game."

Video: Jeff Petry on the loss to the Lightning

Nikita Kucherov added another goal for the Lightning in the second period, before Hedman added another with 64 seconds left in regulation to cap the scoring.

Standing up for Nick

Things got a little heated between Nick Suzuki and former Canadiens defenseman Mikhail Sergachev as time expired in the middle frame.

When Weber witnessed what was happening, he quickly intervened and dropped the gloves with Sergachev in Suzuki's defense.

The 20-year-old London, ON native genuinely appreciated the gesture.

"He went for a cross-check and Webby didn't really like that. It's nice to have Webby step up, but I'd rather have him on the ice," said Suzuki, referencing the five-minute fighting major Weber was forced to serve as a result of the scrap. "He stepped up and I thanked him after. It was very good."

Video: Nick Suzuki on Shea Weber's leadership

In Weber's mind, it was a natural response.

"He's our skilled player. He's one of our top players. I saw what was going on, and I think anybody else who saw what was going on probably would have gone in there, too," stated Weber.

Julien fully supported Weber's decision to go toe-to-toe with the Russian rearguard as well.

"I liked Shea's response. He's one of our young prospects who's having a good season. Weber went to defend him. That's what you want to see from your team," praised Julien. "It's not a question of one guy being super tough, but team tough. We've got each other's backs and we help each other out that way."

Video: Claude Julien's postgame press conference @ TBL

The flu bug strikes again

During his postgame press conference, Julien was asked about Gallagher's health status.

While Gallagher was unable to participate in the morning skate because of the flu, the Canadiens' bench boss still wasn't ruling him out against the Lightning.

The 27-year-old right-winger was far too ill to suit up, however.

"He really couldn't play," confirmed Julien. "If you asked me this morning if he'd play, I know him. But I saw the condition he was in, and it was impossible for him to play, even if he wanted to. He was way too sick."

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