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The Canadiens tried everything, but the Lightning were simply too strong

The Montreal Canadiens were playing the 36ᵉ game of their season, as they visited the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Tricolore had a record of 15-15-5 going into the game, while the Lightning’s was 17-15-5.

Four points separated the two teams in the standings, while the Habs have two games in hand.

Just before the start of the game, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos received a heartfelt tribute from the fans, as he officially became the franchise’s longest-serving player.

He surpassed Vincent Lecavalier with his 1038ᵉ career games.

For the game, the Habs tried a different tactic with 11 forwards and seven defensemen in uniform.

This marks the return of Johnathan Kovacevic to the lineup, as Christian Dvorak is out with an upper-body injury.

There wasn’t much action in the first period and no goals were scored.

We had to wait four minutes before seeing the first shot of the game. There were only two shots on either side in the first 10 minutes.

The second half was a little busier. First, none other than Cole Caufield opened the scoring with just under four minutes gone in the second period.

Watch his 10ᵉ goal of the season right here.

Suzuki made a beautiful forecheck, before seeing Caufield take the puck from Stamkos and sneak it between goalie Jonas Johansson’s pads.

No assists were awarded on the goal.

Seconds after Ti-Cole‘s goal, tempers flared after Josh Anderson tackled Erik Cernak on the boards.

Luke Glendening immediately lunged at Anderson and the gloves came off.

Skirmish result: Anderson received a two-minute for charging and a five-minute for fighting. Glendening received a two-minute penalty for instigation, five minutes for fighting and an additional 10 minutes for game misconduct.

Cernak, meanwhile, was slow to recover and did not return to the game.

A few minutes later, the most outrageous goal arrived.

Just when everyone thought play had stopped, even though the whistle was never heard, Kovacevic took advantage of the fact that Johansson had gone for a spin in the corner to score his 5ᵉ goal of the season.

Two minutes later, Brayden Point closed the gap to one goal, making it 2-1.

It was Point’s 17ᵉ goal of the season.

With less than three minutes to go in the second twenty, pesky Austin Watson scored a goal Samuel Montembeault would love to see again.

Watson attempted a lob pass to the enclave, but the puck found its way between the legs of the Quebecer.

After 40 minutes of play, the Habs led the Bolts 22-11 in shots, but the score was 2-2.

At the start of the third period, Cernak was still not back on the bench. Nor was Haydn Fleury, who received a body check in the second period.

Tampa Bay had to make do with just four defensemen.

Just before the midway point of the third, Calvin de Haan scored an unanswered third for his team. The score was now 3-2 in favor of the Bolts.

Nikita Kucherov picked up an assist, bringing his total points this season to 60.

And what had to happen happened, as Kucherov doubled the lead thanks to a magnificent pass from Victor Hedman.

Three minutes after that goal, the Habs captain stepped up with his 11th goal of the season. Juraj Slafkovsky picked up an assist, as did Mike Matheson. The latter extends his streak of games abroad with at least one point to eight.

The game ended 4-3.

The Tricolore’s next game is next year, on January 2, when they visit the Dallas Stars.


– With his 5ᵉ goal of the season, Johnathan Kovacevic has more goals than Jonathan Huberdeau. It’s really not going well for the Quebecer. What’s more, Montembeault picked up an assist on the goal, so Monty has more points in the month of December than Huberdeau.

– Interestingly, the Tricolore were very dominant in the face-off circle. Martin St-Louis’s team had an efficiency percentage of 67%.

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