TAMPA | Throughout the week, Martin St-Louis insisted that his team, if not savoring victories, could at the very least learn by facing the powers of the circuit.
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Saturday night, at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, another major challenge awaited Montrealers: the Lightning and their group of explosive and skillful forwards.
These, Nikita Kucherov (author of three points) and Steven Stamkos in the lead, supported by Victor Hedman, offered another crash course to the Montrealers. Except that this time it was the Canadian who had the upper hand, thanks to a 5-4 win in the shootout.
To achieve this, the Montrealers had to come from behind on two occasions. It also took Jake Allen to outdo himself once again by making 37 saves. And a big thank you to Nick Suzuki, who was the only scorer in the shootout.
For Martin and Vincent
But, in the end, the team returned to Montreal with a more than satisfying victory.
“It’s a reward for the players. We played five games in eight days. On top of that, we went for five points, including victories against the Maple Leafs and the Lightning. If, before this sequence, we had been told that we would play for .500 in this portion of the schedule, we would have taken it,” declared Martin St-Louis.
This victory has a special cachet since it was the first visit of St. Louis to Tampa, behind the bench of the Canadian.
“He told us not to do it for him. But in the locker room, it is certain that we wanted to win this match for him and Vinny (Vincent Lecavalier), told Joel Edmundson. It’s normal. You look at the ceiling and you see their number. »
Cole Caufield, Corey Schueneman, Josh Anderson and Jesse Ylönen were the visitors’ scorers in the opening 60 minutes.
Successful baptism for Harris
We wondered how Jordan Harris would manage to manage against the Lightning. It’s not easy to start a career in the NHL against the two-time Stanley Cup champion. The answer is that it went like a charm.
The 21-year-old defender looked in his element from start to finish. Mainly used on the left of David Savard, the rookie appeared from his first appearance on the ice by supporting the attack and obtaining his first shot at the end.
Beyond that, he displayed fluidity in his skating and composure in possession of the puck. On the other hand, he will have to learn that you can no longer play “with no helmet” in the NHL, a gesture for which he received a penalty.
“He should have read the entire rulebook before playing his first NHL game,” laughed Edmundson.
It’s the job that comes in.
What we noticed…
Harris, 45and player
By playing his first game in the NHL, Jordan Harris became the 45th player to wear the uniform of the Canadian this season. The Habs are now only one digit away from the record of 46 set in 2000-2001. If Carey Price ends up returning to play, the score will be tied.
Three rookies on the blue line
With Harris, Justin Barron and Corey Schueneman, the Canadian had three rookies on the blue line. Martin St-Louis had no choice but to trust them. And each of them played well. Barron did well defensively (except on Steven Stamkos’ goal) in addition to attacking when needed. Schueneman scored the second goal of his career.
Five Compromised Attackers
As it does on occasion, St. Louis sent five forwards to one of its powerplay units. It is precisely this quintet that was on the ice when Anthony Cirelli scored the second goal for the Lightning. It was the 10th goal conceded by the Habs’ massive attack.
A winning combination
Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki saw several linemates pass on their right. On Saturday, it was Rem Pitlick’s turn to play alongside them. A good decision from St-Louis considering that this unit is the one that got several scoring opportunities. Caufield scored a fine goal after being frustrated earlier in the match by Brian Elliott on two occasions. Between them, they fired nine of the Canadian’s 31 shots.
A goal that feels good
Josh Anderson beat Brian Elliott on a breakaway following brilliant defensive play from Mike Hoffman. This goal, which tied the game 3-3, will do the Ontario forward a lot of good. Since his March 1 hat trick, he had only two points in 12 games.