The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a two-goal deficit in the third period and defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in overtime at Amalie Arena on Wednesday.
Andrei Vaisilevskiy made 19 saves and Carey Price stopped 26 of 30 shots on the night. The Lightning were 1-for-3 with the man-advantage and limited the Canadiens to one goal on two power-play attempts.
The Lightning welcomed back Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat to the lineup and with their return, head coach Jon Cooper reunited them with center Tyler Johnson. ‘The Triplets’ were the best line for the Lightning and combined for three goals, three assists and a plus-eight rating on the night.
The Canadiens carried a 3-1 lead into the third period but the Lightning were able to tie the game with just three and a half minutes left in regulation before Tyler Johnson tallied the game winner in overtime.
Here’s a closer look at how this game played out on Wednesday:
The Canadiens got off to a quick start and took an early lead when Vasilevskiy went to play the puck behind the net and lost the puck to Habs forward Paul Byron. Radulov was alone in front of the half-empty net and Byron fed it to him to score the important first marker just over three minutes into the game.
The Lightning were being largely outplayed by the Canadiens when the Triplets line got to work in a tac-tac-toe play to tie the game. Habs defenseman Shea Weber turned the puck over to Palat near the blue line and he fed it down low to Kucherov. He controlled the puck briefly before sliding it to Johnson who one-timed the puck past Carey Price at just past the midway point of the period.
The Canadiens received the game’s first power play after Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was called for holding at 13:23 of the period. Just eight seconds into the man-advantage, Byron received the puck at the Lightning goal line and fed it to Weber who fired a one-timer past the glove hand of Vasilevskiy to take a 2-1 lead.
Less than a minute into the period, Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin was behind the net and passed the puck out front to Johnson who moved it over to Palat who one-timed it towards the half-open net. Price got his stick in front of it just in time and robbed Palat of a would-be goal.
The Canadiens made it a two-goal game when Daniel Carr moved the puck to Michael McCarron who controlled it in the slot before feeding it to Chris Terry who one-timed it past Vasilevskiy at just over three minutes into the middle frame.
The Lightning created a lot of different scoring opportunities and the The Triplets line created scoring chances and showed the puck movement they’ve been known for in the past. Tampa Bay got their first power play late at the 16:59 mark but were unable to get much going and beat Price, despite outshooting the Habs 13-8 in the period.
Tampa Bay entered the period down by two goals and played their best period of the game in the final 20 minutes of regulation, although they were unable to capitalize on a power play opportunity early in the third.
The Lightning began to gain momentum and Hedman took a Kucherov pass and waisted a low shot past Price’s blocker side to make it a one-goal game at just past the 11-minute mark to breath new life into the club.
Weber was called for tripping at 15:39 of the period to give the Lightning their power play opportunity. Hedman passed the puck to Palat who wristed a low shot past Price, who was screened by Brian Boyle at the time, to knot the game at three goals a piece with three and a half minutes left to play.
With under three minutes to play in the game, Kucherov received a long pass at the Canadiens’ blue line and the play was immediate blown dead as the Lightning were called for too many men on the ice. Cooper exploded on the Lightning bench, as it was clear on the replay that Boyle, who was leaving the ice just before the call, got to the bench and off the ice before Kucherov accepted the pass. The Lightning, however, were able to kill off the ensuing Canadiens’ power play and the game went into overtime.
The Lightning completed the comeback at just 1:36 into the extra session when Tyler Johnson skated into the offensive zone and along the wing before firing a wrist shot past Price’s blocker side for his second goal of the game. Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison and Vasilevskiy each got the assists on the play — the Russian goaltender’s first career NHL point.
MTL-Alexander Radulov (7) assisted by Paul Byron
TBL-Tyler Johnson (10) assisted by Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat
MTL-Shea Weber (9) assisted by Paul Byron and Max Pacioretty (PP)
MTL-Chris Terry (2) assisted by Daniel Carr and Michael McCarron
TBL-Victor Hedman (7) assisted by Nikita Kucherov
TBL-Ondrej Palat (5) assisted by Victor Hedman and Brayden Point (PP)
TBL-Tyler Johnson (11) assisted by Jason Garrison and Andrei Vasilevskiy
THW Three Stars
First: Tyler Johnson (two goals)
Second: Ondrej Palat (one goal, one assist)
Third: Shea Weber (one goal)
What’s Up Next
Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning
Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016
Amalie Arena – 7:30 P.M. EST
Broadcast Channels – Fox Sports Sun, TVAS, SNO
Steven is a lawyer and writer with a passion for the game of hockey. He’s the Lead Writer covering the Tampa Bay Lightning with THW. He’s also been press credentialed through the Lightning since 2016. His work has been published at The Fourth Period, LightningInsider.com, Bolt Prospects, The Sports Daily Network, U.S. College Hockey Online and College Hockey News. He’s had radio appearances on TSN 690 in Montreal, Lightning Power Play Live and multiple podcasts to give insight and analysis on the team. He can be reached on Twitter @StevenDiOssi and by email at email@example.com.