lightning march 9The Canadiens scored three third period goals to come from behind and edge the slumping Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 Saturday night at St. Petersburg.  The Canadiens trailed 3-1 going into the third period.  Brian Gionta scored on an early power play then Alexei Emelin tied it before Brendan Gallager scored the game winnert with 7:57 remaining.  The Lightning did not have a third period shot until there were 2 minutes remaining.  Tomas Plekanec opened the scoring for the Canadiens.  Steven Stamkos, Sami Salos and Ryan Malone tallied for Tampa.  The Canadiens outshot the Lightning 29-23 including 13-2 in the third period.


Adding It Up –

Number One – For about six hours, after the Bruins shutout Philadelphia in the afternoon, they were the fourth place Canadiens.  The win made them number one once again.

The Numbers – The Habs are now 10-1-3 over the last 14 games, a streak that started with that shootout win in Tampa February 12th.  On the five game road trip they are now 3-1 giving them a season record of 8-2-2 on the road, their best since they opened 9-2-0 in 1997.  It took the Canadiens 41 games win their 16th last season.

No Presence – The Canadiens work ethic was fine through the first two periods but they were noticeable in their absence around goaltender Cedrick Desjardins.  They were to correct that problem in the third period.   The Canadiens had sixteen shots on goal through two periods, Alex Galchenyuk and Michael Ryder had seven of them; five of them good scoring chances.

No Chance – Carey Price gave up three in the second period.  One of those periods.   On the first goal, Michael Ryder was checked off the puck by Pointe Claire’s Alex Killorn and Stamkos put it through a screen.  No chance on the Sami Salo wrister after Desharnais lost another faceoff (he won only 3 of 15-20%)  The Ryan Malone goal which made it 3-1 pinballed off his skate past Price.

The Comeback – They took it to the Lightning right from the opening faceoff.  Victpr Hedman tripped David Desharnais in the second minute.  On the sixth shot of the power play, with the Canadiens very much in Desjardins face especially Brendan Gallagher, Brian Gionta fished it out of pileup and scored to make it 3-2.  The goal came in the final second of the manpower advantage.

Tie Game – At 7:33, Alexei Emelin got a pass from Brian Gionta and let a 59 footer go that deflected off Mathew Carle.  3-3 tie.  Emelin has seven points in his last seven games.  How are we supposed to digest that?

Disaster? – Midway through the period while chasing down a iced puck in the Tampa end, Brandon Prust fell awkwardly into the end boards.  He left the ice with an apparent shoulder injury and didn’t return.  Colby Armstrong finished the game with Eller and Galchenyuk.  The medical verdict will come Sunday but it doesn’t look good.

It Wasn’t Pretty – They never seem to be when Gallagher’s around.  This time the kid ducked and dived through the defense finally pushing the puck behind the net for Pacioretty, who simply gave back the battler.  Gallagher jammed it in before the net came off it’s moorings.  Reviewed, but good.  At that point the shots on goal were 10-0.

Closing the Deal – The neutral zone shutdown continued. The Lightning didn’t get their first shot of the period until 18:13, a harmless tip by Killorn.  With 43 seconds left, Hedman launched a 50 footer that was easy for Price.  Final shots in the third period – 13-2.

They Did No Harm – In his first NHL game, Greg Pateryn was unnoticeable, which is a good thing.  Paired with Francis Bouillon, he played 9:13; blocked a shot and recorded a hit and wasn’t on the ice for any of the goals.   Gabriel Dumont was on the ice for some key faceoffs in the third period. He won 8 of 12.  His line was broken up when Colby Armstrong replaced Prust on the Eller line.

Moving On-  The Canadiens wrap up the road trip at Sunrise Florida Sunday.  Short turnaround.  The game is scheduled to start at 6:05.  Then it’s home to play Ottawa Wednesday.  Starting with the Senators the schedule evens out with eleven home and eleven road games remaining.