It wasn’t like Montreal didn’t have its chances in this depressing 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canadiens had long, extended chunks of each period where they stormed the net and swatted away all around Tampa goaltender Antero Niittymaki. But Niittymaki, like so many goalies who come in to Montreal, played like he’s the greatest backstopper on the face of the earth and 15 years from now will absolutely be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Other nights I’m sure he’s quite average. Just not tonight.
Canadiens’ Little Big Three zoomed all over the place, but only Brian Gionta could find the twine. Scott Gomez and Mike Cammalleri should have had one or two themselves but just couldn’t get it done. On this night, Niittymaki was the boss.
Carey Price wasn’t the boss. He was decent but not great, and we need great. There were several times when he was caught way out of position but Tampa couldn’t finish. But in the end, they finished three times which was too much for a Habs squad who couldn’t solve the other guy.
I felt Tomas Plekanec skated well, as did Glen Metropolit at times. But maybe it’s just me.
Canadiens host the Flames on Tuesday.
Plus – Can we start over?