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Lightning close preseason with 5-1 loss

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning
The final score of Saturday night’s preseason game was not indicative of a hard-fought effort by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Vincent Lecavalier scored the lone Lightning goal, as the Bolts fell 5-1 to the Montreal Canadiens in the final preseason game of the 2011 exhibition season at the Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City.

Despite dropping the first two contests of the preseason, Tampa Bay managed to wrap up its campaign with three wins in its last four games.

The Canadiens’ win marked just the second of the preseason for Montreal, who finished exhibition play with a 2-6-0 record.

Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, Mathieu Darche, Erik Cole and Mike Cammalleri each had goals for Montreal.

The victory was aided by Montreal’s ability to control puck possession and capitalize on scoring chances. Tampa Bay strung together a series of solid scoring opportunities as well, but couldn’t crack Canadiens net minder Carey Price.

Montreal’s power play, which went 0-for-3 on Thursday night against the Bolts in a 4-0 defeat, created a lot of chances early on but couldn’t solve Mathieu Garon. The Canadiens did get on the board, however, not with the man advantage, but shorthanded rather in the first period.

Gionta made it 1-0 on a breakaway at 9:59 while down one skater. After stealing a pass from Steven Stamkos at the blue line, the Canadiens forward skated in and beat Garon to open the scoring.

The teams then traded goals to open the second period.

First, Gomez gave the Habs a two-goal lead after swatting the puck out of mid-air and over the shoulder of Garon before Lecavalier countered at 3:49 while crashing the net and cashing in a nifty cross-ice pass from Teddy Purcell.

What began as a close game to start the middle frame quickly turned into a one-sided affair.
Minutes after Lecavalier cut the deficit to one, Darche and Cole scored a pair of goals less than three minutes apart to put Montreal up 4-1. Darche, a former Lightning forward, got things started by tipping in a Jaroslav Spacek shot from the point. Cole added an additional tally at 8:24 after taking advantage of a Brett Clark turnover in the Lightning end.

Towards the end of the third period, Ryan Malone was given a fighting major penalty and a game misconduct after officials deemed he delivered a hit to the head of Chris Campoli.

With much disciplinary action handed out already in the preseason, the play will be reviewed by the league office and the possibility of a suspension will be explored as well.
Cammalleri capped the scoring late in the third after putting Montreal up 5-1.

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