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Habs Mistakes Cost Them Dearly

The Canadiens had perhaps their worst start of the playoffs in this Game 3 but two things prevented it from being an unmitigated disaster, the timely timeout taken by Ducharme and the unwavering support of the crowd. Unlike in Vegas when the Habs took the lead over the locals, the Bell Centre crowd only got louder, chanting Price’s name and letting him know they believed in him before launching into a “Go Habs Go” for the ages. Montreal finished the first period with a 17-12 lead in shots and only trailing by one score-wise.

Unfortunately for Montreal though, they made a couple of mistakes that lead to 2 odd man rushes, 2 on 0 and 2 on 1 on which Price could do very little and the Lightning jumped to a commanding 4-1 lead in the middle frame. That’s the thing about this Bolts team, they will make you pay cash (as Ducharme would say) whenever you make a mistake. If ever there was a time to be flawless, it’s right now and the Canadiens have been anything but in this game 3, 15 turnovers with 6 minutes to go in the 2nd will never be good enough against a powerhouse like Tampa Bay 

In the last 5 minutes of the second, Montreal finally woke up and started pressing and putting pucks on net again. Their efforts were rewarded when Nick Suzuki managed to get one past Vasilevskiy much to the joy of the 3,500 fans in attendance. Still, being down by 2 with 20 minutes to go against Tampa Bay is not the ideal position to be in. The Habs retreated to the locker room knowing that the next 20 minutes of hockey were crucial to their Stanley Cup aspirations.  

They came out with purpose and tried to control the play, but they just couldn’t solve the Tampa Bay netminder before Tyler Johnson had increased the Lightning’s lead with a big assist from Eric Gustafsson. Perry gave the crowd some hope when he made it 5-3, but with Price pulled, the Bolts completed the score with an emptynet goal. A 6-3 win and a 3-0 series lead for the defending Champions, time is running out for the Canadiens.  

With his back against the wall, will Dominic Ducharme finally decide to make some changes before the Canadiens’ swan song Gustafsson had a terrible game tonight and while he is useful on the power play, those are now few and far between. Just think about when Perry could have had a breakaway and he ended up with Hedman’s stick on his blade…or when Hedman moved the net as the Habs were pressuring on. I’m not saying this loss is on the officiating, only that Gustafsson is not worth the risk. Especially not with a Tampa forward always playing deep and ready to break out. I’m really hoping to see Romanov and/or Kulak play Monday night. Judging by Ducharme’s comments in the post-game presser though, don’t hold your breath. 

Starved for offense, Ducharme might also want to consider bringing in some fresh Tuna in the line-up, could a rested Tatar create a muchneeded spark? If Brendan Gallagher is to be believed though, there’s no quit in this team and they still have the same belief they had at the start of the year. As for his linemate Philip Danault, he mentioned that the Canadiens really had to eradicate the mistakes from their play, because a team like Tampa will always make you pay.  

Meanwhile, Carey Price did his mea culpa in front of the media, when he was asked how he felt he played, he immediately said that his play wasn’t good enough so far in this series and he just has to be better. Hopefully, that happens in the next game, otherwise, the Montreal crowd may get to see the Cup be awarded to the Lightning…

Montreal finished the first period with a 17-12 lead in shots and only trailing by one score-wise.

“It wasn’t the start we wanted. I don’t have to explain that,” said a deljected Brendan Gallagher. “At this stage, we’re playing good hockey, we’re playing good hockey then we’re making mistakes against a very good hockey team and they make you pay.”

Unfortunately for Montreal though, they made a couple of mistakes that lead to 2 odd-man rushes, 2-on-0 and 2-on-1 on which Price could do very little, and the Lightning jumped to a commanding 4-1 lead in the middle frame. That’s the thing about this Bolt’s team, they will make you pay cash (as Ducharme would say) whenever you make a mistake. If ever there was a time to be flawless, it’s right now and the Canadiens have been anything but in this Game 3, 15 turnovers with six minutes to go in the 2nd will never be good enough against a powerhouse like Tampa Bay 

In the last five minutes of the second, Montreal finally woke up and started pressing and putting pucks on net again. Their efforts were rewarded when Nick Suzuki managed to get one past Vasilevskiy much to the joy of the 3500 fans in attendance. Still, being down by two with 20 minutes to go against Tampa Bay is not the ideal position to be in. The Habs retreated to the locker room knowing that the next 20 minutes of hockey were crucial to their Stanley Cup aspirations.  

They came out with purpose and tried to control the play, but they just couldn’t solve the Tampa Bay netminder before Tyler Johnson had increased the Lightning’s lead with a big assist from Eric Gustafsson. Perry gave the crowd some hope when he made it 5-3, but with Price pulled, the Bolts completed the score with an emptynet goal. With a 6-3 win and a 3-0 series lead for the defending Champions, time is running out for the Canadiens.  

With his back against the wall, will Dominic Ducharme finally decide to make some changes before the Canadiens’ swan song Gustafsson had a terrible game tonight and while he is useful on the power play, those are now few and far between. Just think about when Perry could have had a breakaway and he ended up with Hedman’s stick on his blade…or when Hedman moved the net as the Habs were pressuring on. I’m not saying this loss is on the officiating, only that Gustafsson is not worth the risk. Especially not with a Tampa forward always playing deep and ready to break out. I’m really hoping to see Romanov and/or Kulak play Monday night. Judging by Ducharme’s comments in the post-game presser though, don’t hold your breath. 

“It was an uphill battle chasing the game,” said Shea Weber. He couldn’t name which goal turned the game.

Starved for offense, Ducharme might also want to consider bringing in some fresh Tuna in the line-up, could a rested Tatar create a muchneeded spark? If Brendan Gallagher is to be believed though, there’s no quit in this team and they still have the same belief they had at the start of the year. As for his linemate Philip Danault, he mentioned that the Canadiens really had to eradicate the mistakes from their play, because a team like Tampa will always make you pay.  

Meanwhile, Carey Price did his mea culpa in front of the media, when he was asked how he felt he played, he immediately said that his play wasn’t good enough so far in this series and he just has to be better. Hopefully, that happens in the next game, otherwise, the Montreal crowd may get to see the Cup be awarded to the Lightning… 

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