Canadiens Battle Tampa Bay & The Referees

Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens
Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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More Of The Same

Jayden Struble, Anthony Cirelli
Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Another brain fart exiting the zone results in Paul’s second tally of the game. Tampa is in total control with half the period remaining. Rafael Harvey Pinard’s weak attempt to clear the puck ended up in his net. 

Tampa is back to the power play for a questionable trip. Primeau gets beat with a snipe from Brandon Hagel. Tampa has the stranglehold three-goal lead. 

Austin Watson took a penalty for slashing Struble behind the Habs net. But Montreal was unable to do anything on the man advantage.

Then a few minutes later, Mike Matheson dove to prevent a clear-cut Kucherov break-away. Tampa is headed back to the power play. Matheson to the sin bin for two minutes or less, on a play where he made contact with the puck first. 

As you predicted, Kucherov scored on the man advantage. Brayden Point threaded the one timer and it’s 6-2 lightning.

With 13.7 seconds remaining in a period Martin St. Louis and the Habs would rather forget, Struble gets a four-minute penalty for high sticking. 

Third Period

The Canadiens killed off the remainder of Struble's four-minute double minor. Then Juraj Slafkovsky drew a tripping penalty against Erik Cernak. They came up empty-handed on the man advantage, however.

The third period felt like the Habs trying to get through the neutral zone and Tampa just played a trap preventing anything from entering their zone. Jesse Ylonen broke through with Josh Anderson, then passed the puck to Jake Evans who worked it back to Ylonen. But Matt Tomkins stood tall.

A few sequences later, Xhekaj hammered a one-timer served on a platter from Mike Matheson. Slafkovsky redirected the shot into the net. Pulling the Habs to within three goals.

The top line found themselves working down the Lightning's zone defence, Nick Suzuki made a nice save at the blueline to keep the play alive. He worked a pass to Slafkovsky who worked it over to Suzuki, who found Cole Caufield in the slot, and he potted a slick snipe for his 22nd of the season.

Xhekaj tried to hit Hagel but missed, then Stamkos ran him over. Eyssimont went after Xhekaj for some reason, that is unknown and challenged him. Montreal to the power play, down two goals with seven minutes to play.

Montreal pressed hard for their fifth goal, but Tomkins held down the fort.

Unbelievably, the referees let Slafkovsky off without a slap on the wrist. He was left stunned, thinking something was coming.

Steven Stamkos iced the game with an empty netter, putting a dagger in the Canadiens comeback hopes.