This one didn't have feel of a garden-variety early regular season game. Instead, it was a heated, high-intensity battle between two divisional rivals. The compete-level on both sides was extremely high and, as a result, there wasn't a lot of open ice. As it turned out, the three goals that were scored (not including the empty-netter) were all well-executed plays. Unfortunately for the Lightning, the Canadiens made two of them and were able to rally from a 1-0 third period deficit.
Both the Lightning and Canadiens defended very well without the puck. But that doesn't mean that there weren't scoring chances. Goalies Ben Bishop and Carey Price were strong in denying opportunities - the Habs had a few odd-man rushes in the game and the Lightning forced Price to stop a handful of point-blank chances.
The first goal of the game went to Alex Killorn, who tipped in a shot/pass from Victor Hedman. It came with just under four minutes left in the second period. Price kept the game at 1-0 when he smothered an Ondrej Palat tip off the post. Then later in the frame, he stopped another Palat deflection.
The Lightning had an opportunity to extend the lead when they received back-to-back power play chances early in the third. But Price made his best save of the game in the opening seconds of the frame, denying Palat again with a terrific skate save. After killing both penalties, the Habs regained momentum. They generated a scoring chance and drew a penalty. On the ensuing power play, Alex Galchenyuk finished a perfect cross-ice pass from Andrei Markov to tie the game. About four minutes later, Andrew Shaw forced a turnover in the Lightning end and, after passing the puck to Max Pacioretty, went to the front of the net. He screened Bishop, who couldn't see Pacioretty's shot. The puck went past the screen - and Bishop - to give Montreal the lead with 9:37 left.
Down by one, the Lightning pressed the attack and dictated play for most of the rest of the game. Their best chance to tie came off a Tyler Johnson point-blank attempt. But Price denied it. Torey Mitchell finished the scoring with an empty-netter.
Leading a game after two periods and then not getting any points is a tough pill to swallow. But credit Montreal for executing two plays in the third that tipped the balance. Still, it was a strong performance for the Lightning - they just happened to lose a close game. They also lost Nikita Kucherov to injury in the first period (he didn't play the second or third). Hopefully, it's not a serious issue.
After their first loss of the season, the Lightning responded with one of their best games (last Saturday's win in Ottawa). They'll look to produce a similar game when they visit New Jersey on Saturday.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game:
Price's third period save on Palat.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
- Carey Price - Canadiens. 30 saves.
- Victor Hedman - Lightning. Assist. If not his best game, it was one of his best overall games of the season.
- Max Pacioretty - Canadiens. Game-winning goal.