Steven Stamkos didn’t score a single goal in Tampa Bay’s first eight playoff contests this season. The fact that the Lightning made it to the second round and then took Game 1 against Montreal without a single marker from the two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner is impressive.
It also raises the question: How far can Tampa Bay go if Stamkos gets hot?
We might find out the answer because Stamkos not only ended his goal scoring drought midway through the second period of Sunday’s game, but he did so in style. After accepting a long pass from Jason Garrison and beating Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov for the puck, Stamkos found himself in a one-on-one situation with goaltender Carey Price.
Stamkos didn’t have complete control of the rolling puck as he moved towards the net, but he still managed to outmaneuver Price to put Tampa Bay up 2-1:
The Montreal Canadiens probably didn’t draw it up this way – who could, really? – but they got what they wanted with a 1-0 series lead, besting the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Wednesday.
The most eyebrow-raising stuff happened in the first 40 minutes. To start things off, the Senators managed a 1-0 lead after Andrei Markov’s unfortunate own-goal.
All bets were off in the second period, though, really. The wildest moment came when P.K. Subban received a game misconduct and five-minute major slashing penalty, but it really set the stage for a manic run of traded blows.
To start things off, Torrey Mitchell and Tomas Plekanec scored two goals less than 30 seconds apart to give the Canadiens a 2-1 lead.
Ottawa took advantage of the power-play opportunities afforded by the Subban call … to an extent. Kyle Turris tied it up a little more than two minutes into that PP, yet a wild Lars Eller shortie made it 3-2 again.
The Senators managed one more tie thanks to Mika Zibanejad, but Brian Flynn’s tally ended up being the game-winner.
To review, six of the game’s seven goals happened in about a 10-minute span in the second period. This box score view of that scoring run may help illustrate the point more clearly:
Yeah, pretty crazy.
Ultimately, the Atlantic Division-winning Canadiens took a 1-0 series lead against the magical Senators, even with Max Pacioretty out of the lineup because of his injury issues and Subban only playing half the game.
In other words, clearly how Michel Therrien drew things up.
The Ottawa Senators’ luck might not just be reserved for the regular season.
They’ve been taking it to the Montreal Canadiens early on in Game 1, and they were rewarded much to Andrei Markov’s chagrin, as Milan Michalek got credited for the tally on this own-goal:
Oof, that has to sting. Apparently Carey Price was non-too-pleased about that gaffe:
Plenty of jokes came from this one, including an ode to former Edmonton Oilers defenseman Steve Smith and his notorious blunder.
For Markov’s sake, it’s at least a far less crucial time.