Lightning throttle Canadiens to put themselves on the precipice of becoming a dynasty.
Tampa Bay Leads the Series 3-0
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed three goals on 35 shots for the victory. Tonight was his worst game in a really long while. Allowed one howler and two other goals that were probably beneath his standards. And Montreal still got whipped.
1:52 TB Rutta (2), (Palat, Hedman)
3:27 TB Hedman (2), (Kucherov, Cirelli)(PP)
11:16 MTL Danault (1), (Weber)
1:40 TB Kucherov (8), (Palat, Cernak)
3:33 TB Johnson (3), (Joseph, Savard)
18:04 MTL Suzuki (7), (Petry, Caufield)
15:19 TB Johnson (4), (unassisted)
15:58 MTL Perry (4), (Gallagher, Chiarot)
16:48 TB Coleman (3), (Goodrow)(EN)
Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Victor Hedman were the game’s three stars.
Two things I think that were highlighted in this game: 1.) The ruthless professionalism of this 2021 edition of the Tampa Bay Lightning. They came in prepared to work tonight understanding the opportunity before them and put the requisite pressure on Montreal from the very start of the game. 2.) Montreal is what many long suspected they are. They’re a fraudulent team. The kind of mistakes you saw in Game One were just amplified exponentially in Game Three as exemplified by the 2-on-0 goal to start the Second Period and the subsequent 2-on-1 goal that made it 4-1 and really took the heart from the Canadiens less than 25 minutes into this game as Montreal’s rink was left so quiet you could hear a mouse’s stomach rumble. And then there was the Keystone Cops effort by the Montreal defenders that led to Coleman’s empty netter that highlights how out of depth this Montreal team is against a quick, competent forecheck. It’s bad. Sometimes this feels like men playing against boys, but more often than not in this series I feel like I’m watching Montreal make mistakes that teams in the Lightning’s Central Division eventually drummed out of their system in the first month of the regular season campaign.
Be that as it may, the Lightning now sit one win away from becoming the ninth team in league history to go back-to-back, putting them in some of the most select company in NHL history and stamping them as a bona fide hockey dynasty. It almost seems anti-climactic now, not that I’m complaining.
Ross Colton was -1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 14:19. By this time on Monday he may be a Stanley Cup champion.