In the Habs’ Room: ‘We Didn’t Play with any Desperation’ Against Lightning: Therrien
TAMPA, Fla. — The Canadiens should be playing guilty when they face the Florida Panthers Thursday at the BB&T Center (7 p.m., Sportsnet East, RDS, TSN-690 Radio).
The Canadiens blew a 3-1 lead Wednesday night and dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“We didn’t play with any desperation,” said a clearly unhappy Michel Therrien.
Getting a point on the road might normally regarded as good thing but the kindly ol’ coach said there were no positives to take out of this game.
There might have been one — Carey Price made a string of nearly impossible saves — but it wasn’t enough to stave off a comeback by the Lightning who did play with some desperation.
“We sat back on our heels,” said captain Max Pacioretty. ‘They created some offence and that gave them some momentum. Carey played a great game and some of the big saves he made early in the game may have been overshadowed because we were up 3-1.
“We like to play in their end and play offence when we have the lead so that we don’t rely on Carey so much,” added Pacioretty. “We should have fed off some of the big saves he made and taken the puck the other way.”
Pacioretty said the Canadiens relied too much on dumping the puck deep in the Tampa zone.
“The game is so fast that they can be back on you in seconds,” said Pacioretty. “We had to play more in their end.”
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper was more talkative than Therrien and he described his mood as “better than it was a couple of hours ago.”
He said the lightning’s best period was the third and that was a bit of a surprise because “Montreal is usually at its best in the third. They’re good at protecting the lead and they have the big guy (Price) back there.”
The Lightning didn’t generate much offence early in the third but Cooper said his team gained the momentum when Victor Hedman cut the Montreal lead to one goal at 11:14.
“That was a big goal and we stood a little taller on the bench after that,” said Cooper, adding that he thought the Canadiens’ defence began to tire.
Ondrej Palat tied the game on a power-play goal at 16:30 after Shea Weber went off for tripping.
“I didn’t get a good look at that shot,” admitted Price, who had the 6-foot-6 Brian Boyle standing in front of him.
The Canadiens had the first good scoring chance in the overtime when Alex Radulov and Pacioretty had a 2-on-1 break. It came up empty when Radulov’s pass took a bad bounce.
There was no bad bounce on the game-winner by Tyler Johnson. It appeared that the puck may have deflected off Nathan Beaulieu’s stick but the replay showed that Johnson tucked the puck cleanly under the crossbar.
“It was a great shot,” said Price, who was as unhappy as Therrien.
The Lightning received a boost from the return of Palat and Nikita Kucherov, who rejoined Johnson on the Triplet line.
“Kucherov and Palat were as good as I’ve seen them play this year,” said Cooper. “As thin as we are up front, we need these guys to come through for us.”