About Last Night: Habs shake off rough first period, still lose

Michael Pezzetta and Christian Dvorak scored their first goals of the season in a 5-3 Canadiens loss against the Lightning.

Article content

A blowout appeared to be in the cards last night, but the Montreal Canadiens shook off four unanswered goals by the Tampa Bay Lightning to keep it respectable in a 5-3 loss at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.

Jake Allen won October’s Molson Cup, but it’s a new month and he got chased after allowing four goals on nine shots. Sam Montembeault nearly pitched a shutout in relief, but gave up a late goal to tarnish an otherwise perfect 22-save performance.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Article content

Montreal extended their losing streak to four, and they haven’t won in regulation since Oct. 23.

In the first period, the Habs gave up three goals in the first 9:09. Nikita Kucherov got things started just 22 seconds in. It was the sixth game in a row where the Habs allowed the first goal.

Advertisement 3

Article content

Nick Paul quickly gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead after Allen kicked the puck right to him.

Article content

Advertisement 4

Article content

With Juraj Slafkovsky in the box, Alex Barre-Boulet scored his fourth of the season on the power play.

Advertisement 5

Article content

The final shot Allen saw last night was from a sharp angle by Mikey Eyssimont. It ended Allen’s evening early. Montembeault entered the game.

Advertisement 6

Article content

No goals in the second period, but we did see a couple of tough customers, Arber Xhekaj and Tanner Jeannot, exchange blows. Jeannot took round one, even though Xhekaj popped the Tampa player’s helmet off.

Advertisement 7

Article content

The Habs were 0-5 on the power play prior to captain Nick Suzuki scoring with the man advantage in the third period. Sean Monahan and Cole Caufield drew assists on the play.

Advertisement 8

Article content

The Habs surprised the Bolts once again, this time Michael Pezzetta was in the right place to bang home his first of the season. Suddenly it was 4-2 with 12:36 left on the clock.

Advertisement 9

Article content

Xhekaj and Jeannot renewed pleasantries in front of Montembeault’s net, only this time Jeannot ended up with a bloody nose for his efforts. They didn’t drop the gloves for Round 2.

With time winding down, Jake Evans took an ill-timed penalty in the corner, and Tampa was able to regain a three-goal lead. Paul scored his second of the game after Montembeault did all he could to keep the puck out.

Advertisement 10

Article content

With 19 seconds left, Christian Dvorak ripped a top corner blast out of nowhere to make it 5-3. It was Dvorak’s first of the season. Rookie netminder Matt Tomkins got the first win of his NHL career at age 29.

Advertisement 11

Article content

It was another rough night for defenceman Mike Matheson, who followed up a minus-3 performance against the Blues with another minus-3 against the Bolts. The Liveblog commenters are right: if he’s hurt, and his decline in play does coincide with his injury against the Jets, then he shouldn’t play. With David Savard out, he’s the only experienced blue-liner they have, but he’s not helping anyone at the moment.

Josh Anderson remains goalless on the season, although the commenters seem less worried about that. He’s skating well and missing chances, like usual, and like most streaky scorers, he’s one good bounce away from turning it around.

As inexplicable as Anderson’s continued inclusion on the power play might be, the commenters also wondered why Evans was on the ice with a two-goal deficit and time running out. He’s a fine penalty killer, but he’s got three goals in his last 66 games. Lighting the lamp is not his forte.

3. “Score looks more respectable than what this game really was.” — Derek Stevens

2. “Anderson last 3 shifts (go back and watch them) — turned it over on each shift 10 feet from the blue line. Worst kind of turnovers. Has to be better.” — Kelly Morgan

1. “So, count this as one of those days… I been griping about TSN and Sportsnet blackout policy for years, can’t watch the Habs game here in Leaf land… Eastlink offered a total sports package for $35 plus tax a month for all NHL games… at over $450 a year, I figure too much… so I learn of a French Sports package for $60 @ year that will let me watch all Habs games en Français… so today I get the upgrade and settle down to watch the Habs… first period over and they are already down 4-0! All i can say is tabernoosh…” — Haari Meech

Article content


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.