The finger of blame for the Canadiens 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night can be pointed in many directions, but ultimately blame must be placed on the heads of the refereeing tandem of Don VanMassenhoven and Steve Kozari who completely missed a blatant trip in front of the Canadiens net with just over a minute left in regulation time that led to the goal that sent the game into overtime.
Steven Stamkos scored on the play and Ryan Malone, who had executed the trip that led to the tieing goal, then scored with 51-seconds left in overtime to win the game.
The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Maxim Lapierre and and Tomas Plekanec. Brett Clark scored the lone goal of the second period to make it 2-1 and Martin St. Louis tied the game midway through the third on a power play. Thirty-five seconds later Andrei Kostitsyn made it 3-2, paving the way for the controversial finish.
Carey Price again had an outstanding night in goal stopping 43 of 47 shots. The Canadiens could muster on 27 on Tampa goaltender Mike Smith.
(Game Video Below)

The First Period

Getting The Jump – The Canadiens came out of the blocks strongly. They had the Lightning bottled up in their own end for extended periods during the first six minutes of the game, with all four lines working well.

The First Goal – The Canadiens sixth shot found the back of the net. Lars Eller forced a Lightning turnover along the back boards, the puck coming in front for Lapierre, who scored unassisted.

Laying Back– For reasons unknown to anyone, at that point the Canadiens seemed to lose sight of what got them into the early lead. Tampa took over the period outshooting the Canadiens 14-6 through the final 14 minutes of the period.

Padding The Lead – Still the Canadiens were able to make it 2-0 at 18.07. With the teams 4-on-4 Michael Cammalleri circled defenseman Victor Hedman to take shot. Collecting the rebound he fed back to Tomas Plekanec who fired it into the open side. End of First Period 2-0 Canadiens. Shots on goal 17-13 for the Lightning.

The Second Period

Penalties Trouble Part One – Michael Cammalleri was whistled for interference at 1:22. Twenty-two seconds later Brett Clark took advantage of a screen set up by Ryan Malone to put the Lightning on the board.

A Date With Colin– Maxim Lapierre hit the Lightning’s Steve Downie, drawing a five minute major for boarding. The incident will be reviewed by NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell tomorrow with a one game suspension probable.

Carey! Carey! If it wasn’t already, it became Carey Price’s game. The first 11 minutes of the period the shots on goal were 9-1 for the Lightning. In the second period Price stopped 16 of 17 shots. After two periods Canadiens led 2-1. Total shots on goal – Tampa 30 Montreal 19.

The Third Period

Leaving It Up To Carey – Again the Canadiens goaltender faced the Lightning music. The Lightning tied it up finally Benoit Pouliot made a soft check along the boards near the point failing to get the puck out of the zone. Steven Stamkos then set up Martin St. Louis to tie the game at 10:54.

Getting It Back – Still the Canadiens came back. Thirty-one seconds later, Tomas Plekanec fed Andrei Kostitsyn who went forehand to backhand to give the Canadiens the lead once again.

Penalty Trouble Part Two With 2:12 left in regulation time, P.K. Subban was caught slashing Victor Hedman on the wrist while chasing the puck in the Canadiens zone. With 1:29 left in regulation time, goaltender Mike Smith was pulled, presenting the Lightning with a 6-on-4 power play.

Two Blind Mice – With thirty seconds remaining regulation time the Canadiens penalty killers were Gill, Gorges, Boyd and Gionta. Kubina took a shot that Gorges blocked, Price stopped Stamkos and Gagne. Boyd had grabbed the puck was in the process of clearing it down the ice when Ryan Malone pulled his feet out from under him. The loose puck came to Lecavalier who fed Stamkos. Tie game. The only pairs of eyes among the 22,000 at the Bell Centre who did not see the trip were referees VanMassenhoven and Kozari. Tie game with 19 seconds remaining in regulation time.

The Overtime – The Canadiens got scoring chances from Gionta and Plekanec, but with 51 seconds remaining the Canadiens again failed to clear the zone off a face-off. Former Hab Dominic Moore took a shot and Ryan Malone put in the rebound. Game over. Canadiens lose 4-3 in overtime.

Quote of the Night – Dustin Boyd on being tripped by Ryan Malone

“I was grabbing the rebound and was going to get the puck (out of the zone) and he just took me out”

Summing It Up-Ignoring the refereeing gaffe at the end of the third period, if you can, this was not a very good night for the Canadiens. Without Carey Price at the top of his game, we’re probably looking at a 6-3 Tampa victory. Failure to clear the puck cost the Canadiens the last two goals. For the third straight game a demonstrated lack of discipline led to six penalties to only three called against Tampa. The Canadiens penalty killers were on the ice for 7:10 to 2:56 for the Lightning and the Lightning scored two goals on their power play. For the third straight game, the Canadiens power play was shutout. They’re now 0-for9 to start the season.

On The Bright Side – The best Canadiens were Price (obviously); Plekanec (1g 1ass); Kostitsyn (1g -3 shots); Josh Gorges (1 assist – 5 blocked shots – 2 hits); Roman Hamrlik (logged 20 solid minutes in first game back)

The Fan’s Three Stars – First- Ryan Malone Second – Carey Price Third -Tomas Plekanec

The Game Video Highlights