The Montreal Canadiens should have had a nice shutout win in the bag against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, but almost extended a three-game losing streak with a third period collapse. After building a three-goal lead, the Canadiens were poised to give Carey Price the impressive win before three goals by Lightning defensemen in the last six minutes of regulation forced overtime and then the shootout.
Price bounced back from the rough third period and stood tall during the shootout, stopping Victor Hedman, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. David Desharnais put one past Anders Lindback to save the win for the Canadiens. To go from what would have been the signature win of the month to barely salvaging the two points will no doubt raise some questions that need to be answered before Thursday night’s meeting with the Florida Panthers.
Price finished the night with 21 saves on 24 shots. While that doesn’t sound too bad, consider that he had 20 saves on 20 shots with six minutes left in the game. There will be plenty of blame to go around for the collapse and Price will definitely be taking some of it. He earned his seventh win of the season but wasted a chance to move past his worst outing of the season on Saturday, when he was victimized by the Toronto Maple Leafs for six goals.
The important thing for Montreal here is that they did manage to hold on and get the win. They now trail the Ottawa Senators (who didn’t screw up their shutout tonight) by a point for third place in the Northeast Division standings. It wasn’t a pretty win even though it started out that way, but a win is a win and in this shortened season, every win counts.