NHL Game Day: 3-10-18 Canadiens at Lightning

The pre-postseason began today.

MTL-2
TB-3 (SO)

Louis Domingue allowed 2 goals on 29 shots before stopping 3 of 4 in the penalty shot session for the SO win. He was very good in this game and, while I don't get a vote in these things, I feel like he's clearly won the backup job in Budaj's absence and deserves to keep it.

First Period
4:10 MTL Lehkonen (6), (Hudon, Reilly)(PP)
13:43 TB Johnson (20), (Sergachev, Gourde)(PP)

Second Period
3:00 MTL Galchenyuk (16), (Hudon)

Third Period
13:43 TB Kucherov (34), (Stamkos, Miller)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
MTL- Drouin
TB- Point, Kucherov

Tyler Johnson and J.T. Miller were the game's first and third stars.

After a week or two of playing with an improvised, standby lineup the Lightning finally got to debut a healthy Ryan McDonagh this afternoon (even in 19:15 of hockey). So, after this game, Tampa Bay now has 13 games to tune up their lineup and get everyone settled into their roles ahead of the playoffs. Call this the pre-postseason. Today's pre-postseason contest featured a little bit of a flat, sleepy start for the Lightning against a shockingly bad on offense Montreal side that continues to struggle to find the back of the net. I don't know if it was planned that way, but if I was going to choose where to debut McDonagh to try to inspire confidence against a run of 80's hockey style scoring fests, this would've been the one to do it in. Overall the defense has been better the past couple of games with room yet to improve. One of the quiet contributors to that, in my opinion, has been the recall of Jake Dotchin from Chateau au Bow Wow. Bottom line: the Ligtning's issues on defense on the right side still exist so they need Dotchin to start playing like he did down the stretch of last season. It makes everything else slot out better for this team, especially if the Lightning (I hope) eventually swap Stralman onto McDonagh's pair in lieu of Dan Girardi who probably shouldn't be playing second pair minutes 5v5 in the playoffs at this stage of his career.

Other things I don't get a vote on: if there's a way for the Lightning to get out from under Killorn's contract to keep J.T. Miller on the team they should find it.

Tampa Bay hits 100 points with 13 games left to go in the campaigns. Many club records are about to go down and go down hard.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 10:45. He was also 17% on 6 draws.

Adam Erne had 4 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 3 hits in 9:49. At least one of those hits was of the "bone jarring" variety.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.