The Canadiens failed to open up the lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning last night suffering a 2-1 loss at the Bell Centre. That means the Lightning return to 7th position in the East with a 1 point lead over the Canadiens. The Canadiens still hold one game in hand on the Lightning and the Thrashers who trail the Habs by only 3 points.
The Canadiens were without Andrei Markov last night who is day to day with back spasms and like they usually do when without his services, they lost. The Canadiens looked confused at times during the beginning of the game and when they finally started getting some chances the recently absent Tampa defence decided to show up. The Canadiens had a lot of trouble getting the puck to the net as the Lightning players set up a wall and blocked something close to 30 shots. When the Canadiens managed to get on net Sean Burke proved himself coming up with big stops when he needed to.
Cristobal Huet played well but this was the first game in awhile where he was outplayed by the opposing netminder. Huet slipped and lost his balance on the first Vincent Lecavalier goal and poor communication lead to a sloppy second goal by St-Louis. That’s all that was needed. The Canadiens managed a flukey rebound goal and nearly tied it up at the end but came up short.
The Lightning won and despite their shot blocking they still didn’t look very convincing as a playoff team. Take away the flukey goals and they most likely don’t leave with 2 points. Atlanta and Tampa meet 3 times before the end of the season and It will probably take a miracle for the Lightning to hold on.
The Canadiens play the Hurricanes next who they have not had much recent success against. Combined with the fact the Habs have no hope of catching Carolina and they they are not a divisional opponent – this is where we’ll probably see David Aebischer get his first start as a Canadien. Aebischer won’t sit on the bench forever and now that Huet posted a loss it’ll most likely be Aebischer’s introduction to Montreal Canadiens hockey.