MONTREAL - Here are a few key storylines from Tuesday night's 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre.
'It's been the biggest problem since the beginning of the season'
While the Canadiens got on the board first against their Atlantic Division rivals, head coach Claude Julien believes everything essentially went downhill from there.
After Jeff Petry lit the lamp with 4:14 remaining in the opening frame, the veteran bench boss says his group took the proverbial pedal off the gas and let the Lightning rebound with three unanswered goals in a span of 2:08.
Braydon Coburn tied things up with seven seconds left in the first period, and then captain Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson added goals early in the second.
"After we scored first, we started to be soft. We weren't able to kill the play. We weren't able to get out of the zone for nearly two minutes. It led to a goal," said Julien, regarding Coburn's tally before Stamkos and Johnson ultimately delivered the knockout punch. "At the start of the second, there was another bad line change and another goal. It was self-inflicted. Those are things we can't do as a team. If we want to have success, you have to be able to play 60 minutes."
Video: MTL Recap: Petry scores lone goal in 3-1 loss
According to Julien, the failure to string together a complete effort from start to finish has been a real point of concern so far this year.
"It's been the biggest problem since the beginning of the season," explained Julien. "We did it Saturday [against St. Louis], and we saw the results. But since the beginning of the year, we've had too many sequences like this that hurt us. If we can correct that aspect of our game, that will definitely help us to win more."
Captain Shea Weber is certainly in agreement there.
"We just gave them a lot of momentum. Anytime a team scores late in a period, in the last minute or first minute of a period, it's a momentum killer or shifter," stressed Weber. "It's just little things that you want to clean up, and that can obviously change the outcome of a game if you take care of it."
Video: Shea Weber on where things went wrong against Tampa
Petry delivers in a losing cause
The Canadiens did manage to make Lightning starter Andrei Vasilevskiy work in the loss, peppering him with 34 shots.
Petry led all players on both teams with six shots on goal while logging a team-high 24:04 of ice time.
He was also the lone Hab to put the puck past Vasilevskiy with a power play goal. It was his second goal of the season.
Video: TBL@MTL: Petry blisters home a power-play goal
And he dished out a pretty impressive hit on sniper Nikita Kurcherov, too…
Nevertheless, the 31-year-old blueliner was still quite disappointed with the final outcome.
"For the first chunk of the first period, I thought we were executing, we were playing our game. Towards the end of the first, we got away from it," said Petry. "We talked about it in here, that we needed to go out and have a good start to the second period, and I think the breakdowns and not being sharp led to them taking the lead and we weren't able to fight back."
Max Domi picked up the lone helper on the play. He currently sits tied for the team lead with six points (3G, 3A), along with Brendan Gallagher (2G, 4A) and Jonathan Drouin (2G, 4A).
Speaking of Drouin, his point streak to start the season was snapped at five games.
Back to work ASAP
There's no denying that the performance versus Tampa Bay was a disappointment.
Hopefully, the Canadiens can work some kinks out on Wednesday when they practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard ahead of Thursday night's matchup with the Minnesota Wild.
Besting the Wild on home turf would definitely bring some positive energy heading into a two-game road trip over the weekend with stops in St. Louis and Saint Paul.