Rabid Habs

Canadiens vs. Lightning: Game #3

Habs' Carey Price

“It was good mentally and for physical rest. Playoffs has a really intense pace out there, but we’re prepared, we’re relaxed and we’ve got our heads in the right place. We’re excited about tonight and we can’t wait to get started.” – Alex Galchenyuk

A rough six to two loss on Sunday may have been the kick in the butt the Montreal Canadiens needed for their Game Three match up against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Amalie Arena on Wednesday night. Things got pretty heated on the ice at the Bell Centre on Sunday (*coughBRANDONPRUST5000DOLLARFINEcough*) and everyone knows that when you’re full of anger and disappointment, you’re not going to stay focused on what’s truly important; in the Habs case, attempting to advance to round three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Habs have also been no stranger to the struggle of puck possession and goal scoring. So far, three goals have been slipped past Ben Bishop, one coming off “American Sniper” Max Pacioretty in Game One and two coming off of defensemen Jeff Petry and Tom Gilbert. Tampa is starting to get too comfortable, a feeling the Canadiens will need to break during the full 60 minutes but in order to do so, the troops will need to keep a sharp focus on eliminating their game plan, putting pucks on net, and keep their emotions off of the ice. This is the same team that made a comeback for an 0-2 series deficit five times in franchise history (most recently in 2004 against the Boston Bruins). The question is, can history repeat itself?

With eight minutes left of the first period, Alex Killorn (assisted by Steven Stamkos) gave the Lightning their first goal of the night and took the one to nothing lead until the clocks ran out. Carey Price had already made three saves in a row early in the period to save the Canadiens. While the Habs were able to kill off both power plays Tampa received (as well as preventing the Lightning from getting any shots on net), Killorn’s first goal of the night watered down the rest of the Troops’ play. However, this gave a chance for the Habs to make a powerful comeback (and late response to the first goal) in the second period.

The Canadiens tried their hardest to create an attack, but right as Brendan Gallagher came close to the line, Jason Garrison was able to clear the crease of the puck and pretty much shatter all of the Habs’ hopes and dreams. Despite the Habs holding off Tampa Bay till the last four minutes (while also hitting another goal post), the battle for pucks on net seemed nearly impossible. The positive is that the Lightning had fallen back when it came to protecting their lead in shots, but the second period ended with Tampa still holding the lead.

With a great opportunity to take advantage of the power play just five minutes into the third, the Habs (despite their fight) failed to put any pucks past Ben Bishop. However, with over 12 minutes left the Canadiens were able to kill off Tampa’s power play from a tripping penalty caused by Max Pacioretty. With a wind of energy, Brendan Gallagher was finally able to solve Ben Bishop and give the Canadiens a much needed point in order to tie up the game (assisted by Tom Gilbert and Greg Pateryn) with nine minutes and 57 seconds left. While the Lightning were scrambling for a tie breaker, the Canadiens were doing an even better job at keeping them stuck in their own zone. However, with just one second remaining, Tyler Johnson gave Tampa their two to one win in game three.

The Montreal Canadiens face the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Amalie Arena on Thursday at 7:00pm.

(Purchase your Canadiens tickets here. | Achetez vos billets des Canadiens ici.)

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @EarlxGreat.