Lightning loses shootout to Montreal, Price

by Gary Shelton on January 5, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Kucherov scored the Bolts only goal./JEFFREY S. KING

Kucherov scored the Bolts only goal./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 2 a.m.

This time, the Tampa Bay Lightning came out shot in a battle of titans.

Carey Price of of the Montreal Canadiens out-dueled Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy Thursday night, stopping 44 shots  in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Bolts. It stopped a scoreless streak by Vasilevskiy that had reached 184:49.

Vasilevskiy stopped 37 shots in the defeat.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy was good, but Price was better./STEVEN MUNCIE

Andrei Vasilevskiy was good, but Price was better./STEVEN MUNCIE

“When we gave up that 3-on-1 in the first 20 seconds in the game and then we turned the puck over right after that, it just kind of showed our mindset in how this one was going to go," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I can’t be too hard on our guys. They’ve played outstanding defense for a long period of time. We just didn’t tonight. I don’t know what our mental thoughts  were coming into this game, but it clearly was not playing the right way. Montreal took advantage, and if it wasn’t for Vasy, who knows if this even goes to overtime.”

Montreal took a 1-0 lead in the second period on Max Pacioretty's goal. Nikita Kucherov tied the game 44 seconds later.

It stayed that way until the shootout, when Paul Byron scored to win the game.

“Actually, I’ll be honest, when I sat there, I looked up and I thought if this is going to a shootout, it could be a long one," Cooper said. "But Byron made a really nice shot. That’s going to go in on pretty much anybody. But if I’m going to sit here and circle the best (goaltenders) in the league, I think we may have just watched two of them.

"It was pretty fitting it was 1-1 and went to overtime. I don’t think anyone was going to expect a 6-5 shootout. The remarkable thing was the scoring chances. I thin both teams had over 20, so they both had to sparkle and they did."

The Lightning started slowly in the game.

“I think our start to the game wasn’t good enough," said defenseman Victor Hedman. "We gave up way too many odd-man rushes. Vasy had to bail us out a few times in the first. We didn’t start the game on time, but I think as the game went on we got better, and we deserved that point. I think we battled hard and two great goaltenders obviously keeping it 1-1. We had some opportunities to score there in overtime as well.”

Said Tyler Johnson: “I don’t think we played very well. I think we gave too much up, we were turning the puck over, not making smart decisions. I know we had our chances and we had our opportunities. Carey Price is Carey Price. He’s going to make those saves, but at the same time, we can’t give up what we gave up and expect to win the game.”

Price made the save of the game in overtime against Johnson.

“He made a great save on me, and I don’t know how he was able to get that other one. But like I said, Carey Price is Carey Price. He’s pretty good. It’s just one of those things that unfortunately didn’t go in, but you have to give him credit. He battles. He works hard. And he’s a good goaltender.”

Perhaps, he's even better than good.

"Montreal took advantage, and if it wasn’t for Vasy, who knows if this even goes to overtime," Cooper said.  “He for sure got us the point. This was an even game. You look at the save Price made in overtime. It’s one of those weird things where we didn’t earn our breaks. I think Kuch missed pretty much an open net in the first period. But that was the way our night was going. We weren’t earning the breaks we usually have through the season."

The Bolts play at Ottawa on Saturday. The puck drops at 7 p.m.

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