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Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec, centre, celebrates with teammates Brandon Prust, right, and Brendan Gallagher after scoring against the Tampa Bay Lightning during third period NHL Stanley Cup playoff action in Montreal, Sunday, April 20, 2014. (The Canadian Press)

Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec, centre, celebrates with teammates Brandon Prust, right, and Brendan Gallagher after scoring against the Tampa Bay Lightning during third period NHL Stanley Cup playoff action in Montreal, Sunday, April 20, 2014.

(The Canadian Press)

Canadiens 3, Lightning 2

With win at home, Habs take 3-0 stranglehold on playoff series Add to ...

Gallagher, of course, made no mistake and scored the goal despite the added degree of difficulty of having a wad of gauze stuck up his nose – field medicine to stanch the bleeding from an earlier hit.

“My face went into the boards a little bit, that’s all right though,” Gallagher said.

If there is to be a poster of Gallagher for sale in the Canadiens’ shop any time soon, it will have to feature him smiling after that goal.

With just six minutes elapsed in the third, the Habs salted the game away.

Tomas Plekanec fired an absolute screamer of a slapshot past Anders Lindback – terrific on this night.

Tampa’s Matt Carle was able to claw one goal back with a seeing-eye point shot that eluded Price, but that was as close as the Lightning would get – Stamkos had a decent chance in the final seconds with Lindback on the bench, but shot narrowly wide.

Post-game, Cooper was also irked by a clever bit of gamesmanship by Price With just under a minute to go in the frame and with the Habs gassed after an icing play, Price discovered an equipment problem and skated to the bench to buy his team a little time.

“You know what? He was complaining about it the shift before, to be honest with you, about his pad,” Subban said. “So maybe it’s just irony, it just so happened I had been out there a while. Obviously I was thankful for the rest, yeah.”

Tampa had another calamity to deal with not long after the disallowed goal.

As Stamkos rumbled up the ice he got tangled up with the Habs’ Brandon Prust, who knocked him to the ice near the Montreal blue line, and from there he slid until Alexei Emelin’s knee collided with his head as the latter tried to get out of the way.

Stamkos lay in the ice clutching his head, and was clearly woozy when he first tried to stand.

Trainers escorted him to the dressing room, but he was back on the bench at the start of the third period.

According to a CTV report, Stamkos told trainers he was suffering from a headache but wanted to get back out on the ice.

Cooper said he didn’t have any details to proffer on what testing or treatment Stamkos was subjected to.

“When he came in he was shaken up, but then he felt better. We were going to give him a shift to see how he felt, but he just got better and better as it went on, so he was OK,” Cooper said. “For a coach it's can the player go, or can he not? And we take every precaution on the side of the player not playing. But they said he was good to go, Steven said he was good
to go. He got stronger as the game, so he was fine.”

Setting team records with a club as old at the Montreal Canadiens is usually a function of said record’s obscurity.

So Rene Bourque’s goal 11 seconds into Sunday’s game, before the crowd had even had time settle down after Quebec singer Ginette Reno’s rousing O Canada, isn’t a team mark for the playoffs – Bob Gainey once scored with seven seconds elapsed.

But it staked the Habs to a start even a congenital optimist wouldn’t dare hope for.

Tampa’s Valtteri Filppula drew the opening faceoff back, the puck was sent toward the Montreal end, and Subban swooped across to cut it off and lobbed a diagonal pass high into the air.

Bourque read it, and screamed up the ice, rounding Tampa’s defence and tucking a shot in off Lindback’s arm.

Bedlam doesn’t begin to describe the racket in the Bell Centre when the puck wormed its way through the big Swedish goalie.

As they like to say in hockey circles, it’s a shot he’d like to have back, but happily the Canadiens provided a bushel of subsequent scoring chances so he could show his mettle.

He closed down Montreal’s Max Pacioretty on back-to-back chances as he stood alone in the slot, the 39-goal man has yet to score in this series.

And of course another of them fell to Bourque, the oft-maligned forward who contributed only nine regular season goals.

The 32-year-old native of Lac La Biche, Alta., also made a gorgeous back check to deny Callahan a goal in the first period – and also mixed it up with Callahan after checked Stamkos in the first period.

It should be pointed out that Bourque now has five goals in eight playoff games as a Montreal Canadien, which should quiet the grumbling from those who pine for the post-season exploits of Michael Cammalleri, the man he was traded for.

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