In a somewhat controversial game that saw a Tampa Bay goal waved of due to incidental contact, the Montreal Canadiens held on to win 3-2 and push the Lightning to the brink of elimnation.
Rene Bourque got the Canadiens off to a quick start, busting down the wing and beating Anders Lindback with a wrist shot just 11 seconds after the opening puck drop. It was Bourque’s third goal in 2 games, after scoring just 9 in 63 regular season games.
A scary moment came with 4:22 left in the period, when Stamkos was knocked down in a collision with Brandon Prust and was then kneed in the back of the head by Alexei Emelin. Stamkos appeared groggy and unstable, and went to the dressing room for the remainder of the period.
While he was out, P.K. Subban made a nice play, pulling a spin-o-rama in the slot and carrying it around behind the net before finding Brendan Gallagher with a cross-slot pass that Gallagher put into the back of the net to give Montreal the lead.
The good news was that Stamkos was on the bench to start the third, seemingly no worse for the wear. The bad news came less than 6 minutes into the third when Tomas Plekanec doubled the lead for Montreal.
Stamkos set up Matthew Carle for a goal that got the Bolts back within one, but they could get no closer as the Canadiens took a 3-0 stranglehold.
The controversial moment came at 15:38 of the second period, when it appeared as though Tampa had scored to take the lead, but it was waved off due to incidental contact on Carey Price. Replays showed that Alex Killorn had been shoved into the crease and then P.K. Subban didn’t allow him to get out before Price instigated contact with him. Price was sliding around the crease when the puck beat him and then the referee called the goal off. That was a turning point as moments later the Habs took the lead on Gallagher’s goal.
The first elimination game of the 2014 playoffs goes Tuesday night when the Lightning must win to stave off elimination.