Topped By Tampa

The Canadiens fell 4-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night, although they gave it the old college try after falling behind 3-0 before three minutes had been played in the second period.

Unfortunately, old college tries are never good enough because they mean losing. And this was to a growing rival who had already won the first three encounters.

It began poorly, that’s for sure. Brenden Morrow got his stick up into the face of Brian Flynn (who didn’t return) and on the four-minute penalty handed down, the Canadiens, and I know you’ll be shocked by this, failed to score.

Following that, a puck was deflected off Andrei Markov and past Carey Price to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead, and then, not even 24 hours after Max Pacioretty was anointed with a new McDonald’s hamburger (the Max 67), he grabbed the puck along the boards near centre ice, turned, and passed it back to none other than a free as a bird Steven Stamkos, who waltzed in and beat Price.

But because I appreciate Max so much, I’m won’t say anything more about this. Or bring up that pass to an Islanders player the other night that killed Price’s shutout. Because Max has 34 goals on a team that you and I complain about because they can’t score. And he had 39 last year.

He also came close several times after, obviously intent on making up for his faux pas. And if you don’t think any of the greats of the game – Howe, Richard, Hull, Orr, Beliveau, Gretzky, Lemieux etc, pulled a boner once in awhile, you’d be wrong.

Later in the second period, Pleks would finally get his team on the scoreboard while on the powerplay (yes, the powerplay), and in the third frame, P.A. Parenteau banged one home after Tampa goaltender Ben Bishop got crossed up behind the net.

But that was it, because Lars Eller was called for holding with just 2:22 left in the game, and with Carey Price pulled to at least keep things even, Steven Stamkos hit the empty net.

Now it’s across the state to take on the Panthers and hopefully better their record in March to three wins in nine games. Which, of course, is still nasty.

Random Notes:

There were a number of questionable decisions by the officials, including the call not made when Brandon Prust and Mike Angelidis fought and which was clearly started by Angelidis. But the instigator penalty wasn’t called.

And Lars Eller’s holding call in the dying minutes wasn’t flagrant by a country mile, and which of course, killed any chance of the Canadiens  squaring things up.

Shots were even at 34 apiece.




13 thoughts on “Topped By Tampa”

  1. Pure speculation, but it’s possible Pacioretty got fooled by Stamkos posing as a Habs defenseman (Gilbert or Petry) yelling for a pass: “Max, Max!”

  2. How can the Habs play well consistently with such a gruelling schedule…with not too much time to take a breather. The owners don’t give a toss….their bottom line is the revenue at the gate for each game…it’s a win, win situation regardless of
    outcome of the game. I could only imagine how the game would improve if they reduced the schedule to 70 games.
    But it will never happen.

  3. It’s true, Ed. There’s been times this season when they had five days off, even six, and often four, and then get a whack of them bunched together, like now. I joke about it, but it’s not really a joke – the schedule maker grew up hating the Habs.

  4. What was with Prust taking a run at Bishop behind the net? Looked like a cross check from behind. Pretty bad I’d say.

  5. Stop pampering max! He’s received this special treatment because he does a few things special. Pk is a much better leader and shows up every shift. Pk and Carey are on their level. Max is below their level.

  6. I don’t think Pacioretty realized that the defence were making a line change.

    To me the most egregious defensive breakdown was on the third Tampa Bay goal. Petry pinched a little too much trying to keep the puck in the Tampa Bay end and was unable to recover. Maybe Gilbert overplayed Killorn, the only forward and legitimate threat on the rush. But what was Parenteau doing while Hedman, a defenceman, flew past him? He made no attempt to keep up.

  7. I have a rules question (my Texan hockey background show in situations like this). Stamkos’ goal after Patches give away, why wasn’t he whistled for being offsides? He was in the offensive zone before the puck…

  8. Mike, from the rule book: “If a player legally carries or passes the puck back into his own defending zone while a player of the opposing team is in such defending zone, the off-side shall be ignored and play permitted to continue.”

  9. Mike, I wasn’t exactly sure either, although I thought it had to be something like that. It’s not every day we say a player from one team make a nice pass back to the enemy for a clear cut breakaway. So we’re both excused for thinking it might be offside.

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