Lightning Comeback Nabs Point
Two Late Goals Force Overtime
The Tampa Bay Lightning opened their season back in October with four of their first six games going to overtime, and they seem intent on ending the season with the same surplus of overtime games. Tonight’s contest was the fifth of the last six to progress to the extra stanza, with Tampa Bay finally dropping the decision to the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2.
This time, there was only 1:45 remaining in the overtime before Canadien forward Saku Koivu scored off a wild goal-mouth scramble. The eventual winning shot was the fourth in the sequence for Montreal, and came with Tampa Bay goaltender Karri Ramo sprawled in the crease after stopping the first three.
Ramo might have a difficult time getting back into Canada, after he robbed the Canadiens time and time again tonight, stopping 33 shots while another 34 shots were blocked before they reached him and another 20 missed his net. After the effort he provided, Ramo deserved a better fate.
And for a while, late in period three, it appeared as if he would get it.
Tampa Bay entered the third period trailing 1-0, as a result of a first period power play goal by Montreal forward Alex Kovalev, one of eight extra man advantages which Montreal was rewarded to only one for Tampa Bay in the game.
After two periods, the Lightning had generated only eight shots on Carey Price, the Montreal netminder. But for Price and the Canadiens, what appeared to be an easy night suddenly turned more difficult as Tampa By came alive in the second half of the final period.
After falling behind by two goals, the second score a wraparound effort by Guillaume Latendresse at 5: 48 of the third, the Lightning finally began to give Ramo the effort he deserved.
Tampa Bay forward David Koci earned the first NHL goal of his career when he pushed the puck into the Montreal net after a scramble in front of the crease. The goal, assisted by Adam Hall
and Ryan Craig, came just after the halfway mark of the period, at 10:26.
Defenseman Lukas Krajicek completed the comeback for the Bolts at 14:43 when his shot from the blue line weaved through traffic in front of the Montreal net and found the twine. Krajicek’s unassisted goal was his second of the season.
The sudden comeback appeared to stun the Canadiens and they backed off the offense for the first time since the puck dropped to begin the game. The Lightning completed the period outshooting Montreal by a margin of 11-9.
But Montreal re-grouped heading into overtime and dominated the abbreviated period, holding the Lightning without a shot on net.
Koivu’s game winner allowed the Canadiens to grab two much-needed points as they continue to battle to the wire for a post-season spot.
For Tampa Bay, any victory was purely symbolic. Ramo turned in one of his best performances of the season, making sharp save after save while the team did mount a strong comeback to force the overtime. The point earned allowed Tampa Bay to grab at least one point in all four meetings with the Canadiens this season..
From here, the Lightning travel on to Washington to face the Capitals before returning to the St. Pete Times Forum on Sunday to host the Ottawa Senators.
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