The Montreal Canadiens have struggled to keep the puck out of their net during their first losing streak of the season. The Tampa Bay Lightning have also had trouble defensively, but they’re surprisingly struggling at the other end of the ice as well.
The usually potent Lightning will try to regain their scoring touch and avoid a fifth straight defeat by continuing their home dominance over the struggling Canadiens on Tuesday night.
Montreal is 0-2-1 in its last three and has given up 11 goals in the past two games. The latest of those defeats was a 6-0 home loss to Toronto on Saturday, and the Canadiens (6-4-1) showed their frustration by racking up 65 penalty minutes, their most in two seasons.
“That was a bad performance from our club. There’s no doubt about that,” coach Michel Therrien said. “We’ve got to find a solution and make sure it won’t happen again.”
Tampa Bay (6-5-0) has dropped four straight and allowed nine goals in the past two games, and it’s also having trouble generating offense. The Lightning have managed six goals during their losing streak after scoring 37 in the first seven games.
Tampa Bay was outshot 32-20 in a 5-1 defeat to the New York Rangers on Sunday, recording four shots in the third period. The Lightning had six odd-man rushes in the first 20 minutes but failed to score.
“This was unacceptable. Embarrassing,” forward Steven Stamkos said. “We’re a lot better team than this. If we want to be a good team, we have to play better than this. We had our chances in the first. After that it was downhill.”
The Lightning will try to get back on track at home after a three-game road trip that was shortened from four, as Saturday’s game against Boston was postponed because of the blizzard that hit the Northeast.
While Montreal has won four of the last six meetings with Tampa Bay, the Lightning have gone 6-1-2 in the past nine home matchups, winning both last season.
Stamkos scored in those two contests and has five goals and two assists in his last five home matchups with Montreal. The center is among the league leaders with seven goals and 17 points, but has one assist in his last three games.
Quebec native Vincent Lecavalier, who recorded the Lightning’s goal Sunday, has four goals in his last five games against Montreal and has scored once in three straight matchups.
The Canadiens’ Carey Price, who played all of Saturday’s game, has lost his last two starts and is 1-4-0 with a 3.10 goals-against average in his past five games in Tampa.
Montreal’s Erik Cole has been outstanding against the Lightning of late, recording 10 goals and 13 assists in his last 16 matchups. He had two goals and an assist in a 5-2 home victory April 4 in the most recent meeting.
Teammate Max Pacioretty has six goals and three assists in his last six against the Lightning, while David Desharnais has three goals and five assists in six all-time matchups with Tampa Bay.
Pacioretty claims he was bitten on the arm by Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski on Saturday and said he got a tetanus shot as a precaution. The NHL, however, said Monday that it had no conclusive evidence while announcing that Grabovski would not be suspended.