MONTREAL - Here are a few key storylines from Thursday night's 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre.
'To me, we were the better team tonight'
The Canadiens couldn't snap their losing streak against the Lightning, but they certainly gave it their best shot.
Claude Julien's players peppered goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy with 39 shots over the course of the contest, but he wasn't exactly in a giving mood.
After the final buzzer, the veteran bench boss praised his group for battling from start to finish versus a Lightning squad that has now secured five straight victories.
"To me, we were the better team tonight. Anybody that watched the game and that knows the game, knows we were the better team," said Julien. "That's because we had our guys, our young guys and our call-ups, everybody from the first guy to the last guy working hard and competing hard and caring. I just wish we could have a positive result at the end of the game to reward these guys for how hard they're working."
Being deprived of Brendan Gallagher's services didn't help the Canadiens' cause, of course, but Julien believes the club did the right-winger proud with their relentlessness in their first home game since December 14.
"I think our team tonight kind of showed his image in the way we played," mentioned Julien. "We competed, we worked hard, we did the things that Gally normally does as a group, and it was disappointing that we didn't get that goal that we needed or the two goals we needed to win."
Defenseman Jeff Petry was the lone player who managed to solve Vasilevskiy, accomplishing the feat during the first period.
It was his sixth goal of the season.
Back with the big club
Dale Weise's first game this season with the Canadiens was a memorable one.
While logging 9:05 of ice time, he dished out four hits and went toe-to-toe with Lightning left-winger Patrick Maroon late in the opening frame in defense of teammate Max Domi.
Admittedly, Weise was fully prepared to drop the gloves given the situation.
"I know Max is gritty and he can handle his own, but I don't think he should have to do that stuff, especially when someone comes after him in our building," said Weise, who was recalled from the AHL's Laval Rocket on Wednesday afternoon. "I think that's something I can bring to the table."
It should come as no surprise that the 10-year NHL veteran relished every single one of his 13 shifts since his love affair with playing in front of the Bell Centre faithful is well-documented.
"It was awesome," praised Weise. "It's no secret I love playing here. We have the greatest fans in the world. It's exciting."
And just like Julien, he believes the home side deserved a better outcome.
"I really liked our team's effort. We had so many chances to score. On any other night, they'll probably go in and that changes the game," said Weise. "If we compete like that and play like that, and you see the way we were skating, I think we're going to win some games."
Video: Dale Weise on the Canadiens' compete level
Less than an hour before puck drop, the Canadiens announced the acquisition of veteran defenseman Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres.
The 29-year-old Montreal native boasts 549 games of NHL experience with Minnesota and Buffalo since debuting during the 2010-11 campaign.
According to captain Shea Weber, Scandella will be a welcome addition to the team.
"Our D corps has been pretty good this year, but it never hurts to add a little bit of depth and experience," said Weber. "When I was playing against him in Minnesota, he was a good skater, and hopefully he can complement our back end."
Julien shared his thoughts on Scandella's arrival as well.
"He's a pretty reliable defenseman. He's probably known more for his defensive play, but he's still a guy that can offensively move the puck well," said Julien. "He just adds some stability to our blue line and his experience should be valuable to us."