Tampa Bay Lightning Eliminates Montreal Canadiens
Since going down 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Montreal Candiens have calmed down and battled back to win two straight. Could the Canadiens be only the fifth team to win a series after being down 3-0: only the Maple Leafs, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and, most recently, Los Angeles Kings have previously done it.
Well, no. Despite being outplayed in the last two games, the Lightning came back in full force, destroying the Canadiens and preventing a decisive game seven in Montreal.
Right away, the Lightning pressured the Habs, and they did not respond; after the clearly hot Nikita Kucherov’s goal at the 15th minute mark in the first — he had a total of six in the series — the floodgates began to open. “I felt as a coach that physically and mentally we were drained,” Montreal’s coach, Michel Therrien, said after. “I’m disappointed, but those things happen.”
But this does not change the fact that Tampa Bay has just had the Habs’ number this season, finishing with a 9-2 record against them.
Also, despite Max Pacioretty scoring with five minutes left in the third, the Canadiens missed a lot of great opportunities. At the same time, this has a lot to do with Ben Bishop’s goaltending — his breakaway stop on Dale Weise was gorgeous — and some lucky plays. Still, Tampa Bay’s defense played great, as Bishop only had to stop 18 on 19 shots.
With this said, Montreal lost the series because of inconsistent goaltending from Carey Price, an inability to score on the power play (two for 36 in the playoffs) and too much time in the penalty box. You cannot win a series while constantly shooting yourself in the foot.
In the end, the Lightning just played better than the Habs and the better team won the series.