Three eye-catching plays by the defencemen in the first period.
1) P.K. Subban stepping up in the neutral zone to stickcheck away a pass, Andrei Markov-style. That's one of Andrei's specialties, sniffing out where the puck is likely to be passed to next by the opposition, and baiting them, allowing the recipient to appear uncovered, then timing it perfectly to intercept the pass once it's delivered. P.K. might be picking up some moves from the General.
2) The General himself, blowing up onrushing Tampa vet Brenden Morrow with a solid shoulder check, dumping him on his keister.
3) Jeff Petry defending against a streaking Ryan Callahan, who leans in and tries to protect the puck as he goes for the net. Even if at first the Lightning forward seemed to have a step on the Canadiens defencemen, nothing comes of it. Mr. Petry easily keeps up with the play, draws even, pushes back against the Lightning forward , and pokes the puck away, a great demonstration of skill, strength and skating. I may grudgingly have to reconsider if he was worth a second-round pick in a very deep 2015 draft. Possibly.
Second period, not much to report, except that I was hating on Brian Boyle but then realized it was actually latent Ryan Malone aversion. I was confusing, in the original Latin sense of the word, both goliathan forwards. And don't they both have cheesy mustaches too?
Aside from that, the Canadiens Express editors weren't doing the game justice, they showed way, way more sequences where the Lightning were attacking, storming Carey Price's net, than they did Canadiens buzzing in the Tampa zone. Is it possible there is an unconscious bias against the Canadiens at RDS? Because any other explication eludes me.
Third period, what about that save by Carey on Ryan Callahan? This was the one really. There were ten or twelve other times when I sanked even deeperer in my couch, anticipating that pass, that shot, that rebound, that turnover, that one, was going to end up in our net. But this one, I was sure of it. But Carey, after winning in February, apparently has designs on the March segment of the Molson Cup as well.
And again the RDS editors, at it again, they're showing a lot of offensive highlights from the Tampa side, but not from our boys. Unfair, really.
In overtime, the dam sprung a leak, the Lightning got their bounce and squeaked one past Carey.
One thing I'll comment on is that the Canadiens' propensity to stickcheck rather than throw bodychecks, finish their checks. Every pass, every Tampa puck carrier would be swooped on by a Canadien and harried. It was relatively impressive, although I wonder how that'll stand up in the playoffs.
And again, I'm impressed by Jeff Petry. I feared another version of Tom Gilbert, who disappointed us mildly at the start of the season, but the new defenceman is agile, strong, decisive with the puck, able on defence. He's a pleasant surprise. And Tom Gilbert is rounding into form slowly, the last 20-30 games. It's not the Big Three plus Bill Nyrop and Pierre Bouchard, but it's better than Jaro Spacek and Tomas Kaberle by a fair margin.
I wish Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk had seized this occasion, in a game against a team that has celebrated rookies and youngsters, to make a difference.
And I noticed that Michel Therrien mixed and matched his lines in the third, even if both teams were even at that point. I guess he felt he needed to adjust, to try new things, that the sauce needed some salt and pepper, some seasoning.
Expect P.A. Parenteau to make a return to the lineup, in this offensive desert we're currently stranded in.