MONTREAL - The Tampa Bay Lightning aren't losing their nerve just yet.
Despite dropping their last two games to Montreal, captain Steven Stamkos and the Lightning say the pressure is still on the Canadiens.
Tampa lost 2-1 to Montreal in Game 5 of its second-round playoff series on Saturday. After winning the first three games of the series, the Lightning's lead has been reduced to 3-2.
"There's pressure for them knowing it could be the last game of the year," said Stamkos of Game 6, which goes Tuesday in Tampa Bay. "We're coming in to our home rink where we've played very well. We have to go prove that last home game we played was unacceptable and I believe we'll do that.
"Our fans deserve for us to win a game in front of them."
Down 1-0 on Saturday, Stamkos gave his team a lifeline at 9:27 of the third with his second goal of the series to tie the game. The Bolts captain jumped on a rebound in front of the net and beat Carey Price with a precise shot off the post and in.
But with four minutes remaining on the clock, Montreal's Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau fired a knuckler just over Ben Bishop's shoulder for the winner.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," said Bishop, who was screened by Matt Carle on Parenteau's goal. "We knew these guys weren't going to roll over. We didn't play our best game."
The Lightning were outplayed for the majority of the contest even though the shot count ??? 29-25 in favour of Montreal ??? suggested the game was close. The Canadiens maintained prolonged bouts of pressure on Bishop's net and Michel Therrien's men hit four posts on the night.
Tampa took five penalties during the game but the Habs couldn't capitalize on three occasions with the extra attacker.
"It took momentum away from us," said head coach Jon Cooper of Montreal's power plays. "Their power play was buzzing even though it didn't score. That's how they got the majority of chances in the game. Other than that, we didn't give them too much."
The Lightning have now lost two consecutive games for the first time since April 2.
The series returns to Tampa Bay where the Bolts had a league-best 32-8-1 record in the regular season. They're 3-3-0 at home in the post-season.
One of those three losses came Thursday in Game 4, when Montreal put three goals past Tampa's Bishop and another three past backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in a 6-2 win.
"Obviously they're feeling pretty good winning two in a row," said Carle. "But you don't really want to know what they're thinking. We have a chance to win the series in our building and that's what's important.
"It doesn't matter how we got to 3-2. It's about moving forward now."
Notes: Montreal has never come back from a 3-0 series deficit. ??? Devante Smith-Pelly opened the scoring for Montreal in the first period.