The Lightning’s reunion with an old friend will have to wait.
The Stanley Cup visited Montreal’s Bell Centre on Monday night, but didn’t make an appearance.
Heading into Game 4 of the Cup final, the Lightning talked about lessons learned about how they were sidetracked by the moment, daydreaming about lifting the Cup before they earned it.
They didn’t want to waste time. Going to Montreal was a business trip. They had the chance to sweep. Instead, they’ll try to clinch on home ice Wednesday after falling 3-2 in overtime to the Canadiens.
After the Canadiens killed a four-minute Lightning power play, Josh Anderson scored the winning goal 3:57 into the extra session. The Lightning went into overtime on the power play for the first 2:59 after Shea Weber’s high stick late in the third bloodied forward Ondrej Palat’s face, resulting in a four-minute double minor.
Canadiens goaltender Carey Price stoned the Lightning in that session, and Montreal charged the net in the following minute, with Anderson coming from behind the left post and making a diving swing at a loose puck past Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Lightning got huge goals from unlikely sources in regulation. Forwards Barclay Goodrow and Pat Maroon – who have four goals combined in these playoffs – provided the scoring as the Canadiens honed in on neutralizing the Tampa Bay’s big guns.
Maroon scored a tying goal with 6:12 remaining, taking a feed from Mathieu Joseph – who perfectly placed a pass in front of the crease – and flicking in into the net past Price.
The Tampa Bay Lightning faced the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night in Montreal. The Lightning had a 3-0 lead and could have swept the series on the road with a win.
Joseph, who didn’t play a single game in the playoff bubble last year, has stepped into the lineup because of an injury to Alex Killorn and has two assists in three Stanley Cup final games.
Joseph collected a loose puck at his own blue line, skated free through the neutral zone, and with Montreal defenseman Alexander Romanov diving in front of him, he led Maroon to the near post with a cross-slot pass.
Romanov’s shot from the right point went between two Lightning players and through a well-placed screen by Artturi Lehkonen, giving the Canadiens a 2-1 lead 8:48 into the third period.
Montreal seemed to take over momentum in the second period, but Barclay Goodrow’s goal with 2:40 remaining in the second period changed everything, and essentially gave the Lightning one period to win the Cup.
Defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who has had a remarkable postseason, made two incredible plays in one scoring span. He prevented Montreal from getting the puck out of their zone, intercepting a pass above the left circle, tipping it on one bounce to Blake Coleman on the right side.
As Coleman put the puck on net, McDonagh raced to the net and corralled the rebound with a backchecker blanketing him fed Goodrow trailing through the slot with a behind-the-back pass. Montreal goalie Carey Price committed to McDonagh and had no chance, and Goodrow had a wide-open net for the tying goal.
The Canadiens took their first lead of the series in the first period on Joel Anderson’s goal with 4:21 left. The Lightning were slow into their own zone on a line change as Nick Suzuki took the puck into the Tampa Bay zone across the left circle. Montreal forward Cole Caufield charged the net and took defenseman Erik Cernak with him, allowing Suzuki to feed Anderson in front of the crease trailing backdoor through the slot.
Before Anderson’s goal, the Lightning had led in shots on goal 8-0 and had 12 of the first 13 shots.
The Lightning ended the period on the power play – including 34 seconds of 4-on-3 play – but couldn’t convert. They came close, as Nikita Kucherov had several setups in front of the net and the Lightning had second shot attempts with the man advantage, including Brayden Point’s attempt that clanked off the post.
After taking the lead, Montreal’s survival plan was clear. They wanted to push the game to the outside, and crunch the Lightning’s top goal-scorers – Kucherov and Brayden Point – against the boards with every opportunity.