Lighting Take 2-0 Series Lead Over Canadiens with 3-1 Game 2 Win

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 1, 2021

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 28: Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens defends against Ondrej Palat #18 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during Game One of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on June 28, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning are two wins away from successfully defending their title.

Despite missing forward Alex Killorn (lower body), the Bolts easily won Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final over the Montreal Canadiens, 3-1The victory continued a run of dominant play by the Lightning, who are 6-2 over their last eight playoff games while outscoring their opponents 27-11.

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Montreal goalie Carey Price made 20 saves in the loss as Tampa pelted him with 23 shots in Game 2 after he faced 27 shots in Game 1.

The series now moves to the Bell Centre as the Lightning become just the second American team to play north of the border this season. Tampa leads the best-of-seven series 2-0.

Notable Performers

Blake Coleman, C, Tampa Bay Lightning: 1 Goal, 3 SOG, 3 Hits

Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Tampa Bay Lightning: 42 Saves, 1 Goal Allowed

Nick Suzuki, C, Montreal Canadiens: 1 Goal, 9 SOG, 2 Hits

Jeff Petry, D, Montreal Canadiens: 5 SOG, -2 Plus/Minus, 2 Hits

Blake Coleman's Backbreaker

Giving up a goal with less than two minutes remaining in a period is one of hockey's biggest momentum-changers. Giving up a goal with less than two seconds remaining is nearly unthinkable—both because of how rare buzzer-beaters are in the NHL and how many things have to go right, or wrong, for them to happen.

Tampa's Blake Coleman defied those odds Wednesday night, scoring what would ultimately serve as the game-winning goal in Game 2, and gave his team a 90 percent chance of repeating as Stanley Cup champions.


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According to the NHL, teams that take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final hold an all-time record of 46-5, or a 90.2 winning percentage.

Yet the truly most incredible part of Coleman's goal isn't that he scored it one-handed while falling to the ice with time expiring. It's that he's scored like it before. Twice, actually. The first time came in an October 2019 tilt against the Winnipeg Jets when Coleman played for the New Jersey Devils, and the second came in the playoffs last year with Tampa Bay against the Boston Bruins.

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This may have been his best version of it yet.

After a ghastly turnover in the neutral zone with less than 10 seconds remaining in the frame, the Bolts opened up a two-on-one with Barclay Goodrow flipping the puck to Coleman on his left wing, who then buried it behind a stunned Price.

The Habs outshot Tampa 16-6 in the second period before Coleman got his hand on the puck, using an unassisted tally from Nick Suzuki midway through the frame to knot things up at 1. Getting out of the period with a tie on the road would've been a victory in itself.

Instead, the Canadiens had nearly 20 minutes to sit in the locker room and replay the final 10 seconds of the period in their heads.

Habs Head Home Down, Not Out

This is certainly not the way the Canadiens expected to return home after two games.

Down 0-2 is tough enough. Down 0-2 after pelting the opposing goalie with 43 shots against an offense missing its second-best point-producer in Killorn might have long-term consequences.

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Montreal looked arguably as good Wednesday night as it had at any point this postseason. The Habs outshot Tampa 43-23, killed off all three Lightning power plays and were only credited with two giveaways to the Bolts' six. This was Montreal's statement game, and Tampa had no trouble erasing it.

While there are a few areas the Canadiens would like to clean up—going 1-of-3 on the man-advantage including a four-on-three is a good place to start—this wasn't a game where Montreal made many mistakes.

Even Coleman's goal was the product of him taking advantage of a fluky situation rather than a Habs error.

The biggest mistake committed by the Canadiens came on Ondrej Palat's goal late in the third period, when a blind pass from defenseman Joel Edmundson behind the net inadvertently put the puck on Palat's stick with Price looking the other way.


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There wasn't much the Habs could do at that point. Barely four minutes remained in regulation and everything else they'd thrown at Tampa Bay had been easily brushed aside. After two games in the Stanley Cup Final, the Canadiens are still looking for a way to dent the reigning champs.

What's Next?

Games 3 and 4 head to Montreal's Bell Centre with Game 3 slated for Friday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.