MONTREAL - The Canadiens were edged 2-1 by the Lightning on Thursday night. It was their fourth consecutive loss.
It marked the Habs' first game back at the Bell Centre since December 14.
Shortly before puck drop, general manager Marc Bergevin made a couple of trades.
Defenseman Marco Scandella was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres, while fellow rearguard Mike Reilly was dealt to Ottawa.
Unfortunately, things didn't get off to a good start for Montreal versus their Atlantic Division rival.
Just 42 seconds elapsed in the first period when Steven Stamkos opened the scoring for Tampa Bay.
That didn't keep the Canadiens down for long, though. Five minutes later, defenseman Jeff Petry netted the equalizer with a wrist shot from the slot that beat goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
It was Petry's sixth goal of the season and his second goal in the last three games.
With an assist on the tally, Max Domi extended his point streak to eight straight contests.
But the Lightning capitalized on a bad mistake deep in the Canadiens' territory to pull ahead 2-1 at the 8:28 mark of the stanza.
Russian sniper Nikita Kucherov gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead.
That's the way things stood after 20 minutes.
There were no goals to report during the second period, but the Canadiens tested Vasilevskiy on multiple occasions.
Claude Julien's squad outshot the Lighting 14-7 in the middle frame, and owned a 26-16 shot advantage after 40 minutes.
The Habs couldn't solve Vasilevskiy in the third period to mount a comeback, so that's the way things finished up.
The Canadiens will be back in action on Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bell Centre.