The fear in life sometimes is that sometimes your best won’t do. It has happened to Montreal before in these playoffs. See Game 4 in the last round versus the Vegas Golden Knights as a prime example. Arguably, Montreal needed a split to make this a longer series. That was also to create some doubt in the minds of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tampa Bay did not play its best game last night — especially in that second period. Montreal dominated in so many ways and yet there was one thing missing again — quality.
Blake Coleman flips the script to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 series lead
According to Natural Stats Trick. Montreal had 11 of the 15 scoring chances in the second stanza. They had the only high-danger scoring chance until the final shift of that period. It is then when everything changed.
Blake Coleman did not get the memo that the second period was supposed to end in a 1-1 tie. This play really did happen.
The stills of the Blake Coleman goal are cool pic.twitter.com/I9wIrrZ6o4
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) July 1, 2021
Again, thanks to Dimitri for a different look at this. Yes, the video was as advertised. However, a goal like this scored with around a second left should not happen. It is not on Carey Price. It is on Montreal’s team defense.
The key part of the play may have been yes, a Blake Coleman hit (he had 11 in Game 1). That separated Phillip Danault from the puck. From there, Ryan McDonagh got the puck into some space with a bit of help from Danault’s stick. Barclay Goodrow then chipped the puck past Ben Chiarot and Coleman did the rest.
Everyone expected Goodrow to shoot and so did Carey Price. What the forward did next was pass the puck to Blake Coleman. Coleman was maybe a half stride ahead of Danault and both dove trying to get their stick on the puck.
In the end, it was Coleman who did and the puck went in the net. This was a crazy, highlight-reel goal that probably should not have happened. Yet, it did. The goal changed the game and likely the series between the. two teams.
Score effects would take over but Tampa Bay did add a third goal as insurance in the 3-1 win. The two teams will face off in Montreal again on Friday night.
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The Montreal Canadiens played a much better Game 2
Again, Montreal did not play poorly in this game. They did not falter when Tampa Bay scored and the Canadiens kept pressing. It was Andrei Vasilevskiy in net for Tampa Bay who was the wall. The Russian goaltender stopped 42 of 43 shots in the win. He did let in a bit of a fluke goal by Ben Chiarot late in the second period. However, he is the main reason why Montreal is down 2-0 in this series.
Some will say it was because he did not win the Vezina Trophy but it is more just a testament to a goaltender who has been here before. On the biggest stage, he made the saves needed to win and preserve the win.
Carey Price stopped 20 of 23 shots in the loss and did make some key saves. Sometimes, even with a much better effort, your best just will not do. On Wednesday night, that was sadly the case.
All hope is not lost completely. It is said that a playoff series is not in real peril until a team loses at home. Montreal showed they can keep up with Tampa Bay. Now they just need to execute when the scene shifts. If the Canadiens can play like Game 2, we may just have ourselves a series. If not, then this may be a short one.