Losing in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 was a setback for the Lightning, but Tampa Bay’s 4-1 loss tonight before the series heads to Montreal for Game 3 is cause for alarm.
Tampa Bay was missing some key players, including rookie forward Ondrej Palat and starting goaltender Ben Bishop, but the Canadiens and in particular goaltender Carey Price deserve a lot of credit for Friday’s result.
After allowing four goals on 23 shots in Game 1, Price turned aside 26 of 27 shots and came within 1:59 minutes of his fourth career playoff shutout.
Not that he necessarily had to be anywhere near perfect in this one as his teammates were able to provide him with a lot of support.
After failing to find the back of the net with the man advantage for nearly a month, Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban ended the drought with a hard shot that was then tipped in by David Desharnais to give Montreal a 1-0 lead.
Rene Bourque powered his way through the Lightning defenders to provide Montreal with an insurance goal midway through the second period.
Tampa Bay goaltender Anders Lindback’s night only got worse from there until he was pulled in favor of netminder Kristers Gudlevskis midway through the third period. Gudlevskis made a name for himself with Team Latvia in the Olympics but has just one game worth of NHL experience.
With Bishop not expected to return soon, the Lightning might end up starting Gudlevskis on Sunday. Not that the Lightning’s problems can be solved simply by swapping goalies.