Rabid Habs

Canadiens vs. Lightning: Game #6

Habs' Carey Price

“We are a group that refuse to die.” – Michel Therrien

The Montreal Canadiens have one last chance to secure a Game Seven match up on Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Amalie Arena. Saturday at the Bell Centre showed that the Canadiens weren’t ready for a summer vacation quite yet, as they beat Tampa two to one, giving themselves a second win against the Lightning in Round Two. While the Habs do face possible elimination, they also face a strong chance at going to Game Seven on home ice with coach Michel Therrien keeping the winning lines the same for Tuesday. On the other side of the ice, line up changes will have to be made with the absence of Ryan Callahan, who underwent an emergency appendectomy on Monday night and will be out for the rest of the series (Jonathan Marchessault will be taking his place). The Canadiens are bursting with confidence and having fallen behind two to three in a series 31 times in franchise history only to come back to win eight games, there’s nothing more the troops need to do but repeat the past few games and just win. It’s do or die and Montreal isn’t in the mood for golf.

With four minutes and 25 seconds left, the Lightning opened up the period with a late first goal from Nikita Kucherov (assisted by Ondrej Palat). The Canadiens started off well in the beginning of the period, maintaining speed while going up 10 to seven in shot attempts by the ten minute mark. However, it became a fierce battle out on the ice with Tampa bringing the pressure and the hits that gave them dominance by the end of the period. The Habs had some good chances to put the puck past Ben Bishop, but it was Carey Price who truly shined as he made four huge saves on the penalty kill and 13 saves in total. If the Canadiens wanted to make a comeback, the second period would be the best time to do so.

As the Canadiens pressed back in their own zone, Steven Stamkos took the opportunity to put the puck past Carey Price (assisted by Alex Killorn and Matthew Carle) just five minutes and 12 seconds into the second period, which was then later followed by a third goal from Ondrej Palat (assisted by Nikita Kucherov and Anton Stralman) with a minute and four seconds left. The Canadiens struggled to generate any offense and despite the fact that the Habs kept pressing, both their first power play of the night and their full 20 minutes was a complete bust. It would take everything in Therrien’s troops to make the comeback that can save them from humiliation and lead them to Round Three.

An early power play from an elbowing penalty on Brenden Morrow just a minute into the third period gave the Canadiens a chance to get at least one point on the board, but Tampa was able to effectively kill off the power play and take Montreal back to their zone. With fourteen minutes left, there seemed to be no intensity increase from the Habs and couldn’t seem to generate anything, which looked like a bitter end for a team who fought through this entire round of the playoffs to get to Game Six. With 10 minutes to go and three shots on net, the Habs tried to make up for lost time and with four minutes left, Max Pacioretty (assisted by Brendan Gallagher) gave the Habs their first point of the net but in the end it was a no brainer and the Tampa Bay Lightning got the empty net goal from Nikita Kucherov, officially eliminating the Montreal Canadiens from Round Two. Despite their rough patches, Montreal did try and you’ve got to give credit to Tampa for making a playoff comeback from last year.

It’s been one heck of a season and post-season for the Montreal Canadiens. Thank you all for taking the time to read these game-day articles and I will see you during the pre-season in September.

The Montreal Canadiens face the Pittsburgh Penguins for a pre-season match up at Centre Videotron on Monday, September 28th at 7:00pm.

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

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @EarlxGreat.