Claude Julien blamed the Canadiens’ 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lighting Tuesday on “self-inflicted” wounds.
After a promising start against the Lightning, the Canadiens surrendered three goals in a span of two minutes and eight seconds of game time.
The bleeding began late in the first period when the Canadiens were unable to clear the puck from their zone. The line of Jonathan Drouin, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia were stuck on the ice for 1:40 before Braydon Coburn scored at 19:53 to give the Lightning a 1-1 tie.
“The guys were getting tired and right at the end there, I lost sight of the puck,” Price said. “I went down and gave up my footing and it went right to (Coburn) in the middle of the ice and he put it over my shoulder.”
“That line got both goals scored on it five-on-five and they weren’t very good tonight,” said Julien, who started juggling his lines in an attempt to get something going after his team fell behind 3-1. “They spent two minutes in our own end in the first period. We had chances to get the puck out and we had chances to stop the play and we didn’t.”
“I had to make some changes,” Julien added. “You saw Drouin move, you saw Kotkaniemi move and so we tried to kind of again make some changes in order to get our team going. I thought the third period was good, but we weren’t able to capitalize on our chances.”
Drouin was moved to give him more ice time, while Kotkaniemi moved to the wing and saw his ice time reduced.
The Lightning came to life after Jeff Petry scored a power-play goal to open the scoring, but Montreal came out flat to open the second period. Steven Stamkos scored a power-play goal at 1:04 to give the Lightning the lead and Tyler Johnson added an insurance goal at 2:01.
“They came out prepared in the second and it was catch-up from there,” Price said. “(Stamkos) has been doing it for a while and he’s pretty successful at it. You know it’s coming, but it’s still difficult to stop.”
“The first 15 minutes or so of that (first) period I thought we were in control,” said captain Shea Weber, who was on the ice for all three Lightning goals. “I thought we played really well. We had a good start. The last five, it’s almost like after we scored we kind of sat back and obviously they scored late in the first, which is a momentum killer for us and obviously a momentum builder for them going into the second.”
Petry said Stamkos was able to get a clear shot after the Canadiens lost a battle in the corner.
“They had us swarmed into the far corner and they got it out quick when we were trying to win the battle and it was up and over,” Petry said. “It’s tough to get back in position. On the loose pucks, we have to make sure we win the battle and it’s not coming out clean.”
Petry said the Canadiens got away from the game that allowed them to beat the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues Saturday.
“For a good chunk of the first period, we were playing our game, but toward the end of the first we got away from it,” Petry said. “We talked about it in here and we wanted to get a good start to the second, but there were some breakdowns. We weren’t sharp and we let them take the lead.”
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