tbay ivSteven Stamkos scored a hattrick in the second period to propel and the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 7-1 win over the Canadiens Monday night in St. Petersburg.  Any hopes of a fourth straight Canadiens comeback were dashed when the Lightning got goals from Ryan Callahan and Ondrej Palat 17 seconds apart early in the third period to run the score up to 6-1. Tampa’s other goals were scored by Victor Hedman, who also had three assists, and rookie Vladislav Namestnikov.  Brendan Gallagher scored the Canadiens lone goal.  Dustin Tokarski replaced Carey Price for the third period and gave up three goals.  Final shots on goal were 41-17 including 18-1 in the third period.  The three stars were Stamkos, Hedman and Callahan.

Adding It Up –

Now, Take a Deep Breath    This game was an utter mess on almost every level.  But the reality is, the Canadiens took six of eight points on a tough four game road trip to open their season.  They’ll take it and come home to straighten out some glaring issues before they face the Bruins Thursday.

What Might Have Been – The Lightning led the Canadiens 2-1 in the fourth minute of the second period and the Canadiens appeared to be finding their legs..  Jiri Sekac had his first NHL goal on his stick with Ben Bishop completely out of position.  Defenseman Anton Stralman dove through the crease and stopped Sekac’s shot.  At that point the game might have been tied and who knows how it would have gone from there.  As it was, Stamkos buried them before the period was over.

Disfunctional – The Canadiens failed on another four power play opportunities.  That’s 0-for-14 in four games.  This is not a new problem.  Daniel Briere scored the Canadiens last power play goal in last season’s 74th game March 25th against Buffalo.  Since then they are 0-for-40 with the man advantage.  How can a power play that mostly features P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Max Pacioretty be this bad?  Apparently Clement Jodoin and Daniel Lacroix, who are responsible for it, don’t have the answers.

Overwhelmed – It was Michel Therrien’s decision to play the Desharnais line plus Markov and Subban against Stamkos/Palat/Callahan.  Stamkos had three goals, 12 shots on goal and 7 scoring chances mostly against the Desharnais unit.  The line took 17 of the Lightning’s 39 shots.

Bad Numerology – The Lightning outshot the Canadiens 18-1 in the third period. 41-17 overall.  By my count scoring chances were 24-9 in favour of the Lightning including 11-1 in the final period, most of that after the game got out of hand.

Goaltending – Outside of the dog’s breakfast Carey Price made out of the opening goal, this was not a game you could pin on the goaltenders.  Two of Stamkos goals on Price were on the power play.  The other on a clear breakaway.  His teammates having given up the ghost, Tokarski was cannon fodder facing those 18 third period shots.

tabayiiiThe Good News – …….Another strong effort from Jarred Tinordi, who was the better of the Canadiens two rookie defensemen in this game.  He made a veteran type play to set up Brendan Gallagher for the Canadiens only goal.  .  ….For what it’s worth, Gallagher was probably the Canadiens best forward. ………Another very good night in the faceoff circle for Manny Malhotra he won 12 of 18 including 7 of 10 in the defensive zone.  Through four games he has won 67.2% –  43 of 64.  ….In this game, Desharnais outdid Malhotra, winning 15 of 19 (79%)…

One From the Room – Lightning head coach Jon Cooper on the Canadiens    “It’s Game 3 for us, Game 4 for them. If they said at the start of the road trip we were going to go out and get six of eight points, they would have been clicking their heels.   They were probably a little bit tired. But that team is going to be heard from this year. That’s a really good team.”

Moving On – The Canadiens have three days of practice before they face the Bruins Thursday.  I’m sure there’ll be more than a little attention paid to their power play.  The Bruins game will be the start of a four game home stand which continues Saturday against Colorado.