First things first. Let’s give the Montreal Canadiens a lot of credit for their performance in this one. The Habs played a terrific road game. They were structured in their coverage, which took away a lot of time and space for Lightning players. They were effective in getting their sticks in passing lanes, so they repeatedly broke up Lightning plays all over the ice. They blocked 18 shots. And they limited Lightning scoring chances throughout the game.
But the Lightning also bear responsibility for how this game unfolded. Their passing was off, which also slowed their rushes up ice. They weren’t determined enough to get traffic – and pucks – to the net. As a result, most of Mike Condon’s 26 saves were initial saves and he didn’t have to make second or third saves in a sequence. They squandered three power play chances and couldn’t convert on a second period penalty shot.
So both teams contributed to the final score. It’s the second game in a row for the Lightning in which they haven’t played well enough to win. On Monday versus Toronto, Ben Bishop bailed out his teammates with a magnificent 34-save shutout. And while the Lightning were better defensively in this game (they didn’t yield nearly as many scoring chances), they still didn’t execute particularly well. That execution will need to improve when they wrap up the home portion of the regular season on Saturday against New Jersey.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Mike Condon’s penalty shot save on Ondrej Palat.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1.Mike Condon – Canadiens. 26-save shutout, his first in the NHL.
2.Alexei Emelin – Canadiens. Two assists.
3.Steven Stamkos – Lightning. Four shots.