Flash Points: Underwhelming Game 4 deprives Lightning of chance to sweep

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) reacts after he gave up a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period.

Kim Klement/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA, Fla. — Gas the plane.

Pack away the brooms.

Prepare for a Game 5 in Montreal.

The Tampa Bay Lightning entered Thursday with a chance to close their series against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference semifinals. But Montreal skated as the more inspired and determined group during a 6-2 rout in Game 4 at Amalie Arena.

The Canadiens received goals from Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais against Ben Bishop, who was pulled in the second period after facing 14 shots. Montreal also added scores from Jeff Petry, Brendan Gallagher and Brandon Prust against Andrei Vasilevskiy.

The Lightning, meanwhile, failed to answer their opponent’s early desperation after an emotional victory Wednesday, when Tyler Johnson scored with 1.1 seconds left to lift Tampa Bay to a 2-1 victory. The Lightning’s goals Thursday came from Nikita Kucherov 12:26 into the second period and from Ondrej Palat with 17 seconds gone in the third.

The Lightning, despite their ugly result, still face favorable odds to win the series. One-hundred eighty teams have fallen behind 3-0 in a best-of-seven series in NHL history, and only four have rallied to win. Tampa Bay also stands an impressive 8-1 against Montreal this season.

Still, coach Jon Cooper will have plenty of teaching moments for his team. Despite Tampa Bay winning Game 3, Montreal controlled most of the past two games at Amalie Arena. The Canadiens will look to extend their momentum Saturday before what should be an energized crowd.

More from Game 4

The Lightning remain in good shape, but their work stands undone.


Markov’s goal 2:44 into the first period became a jolt of energy for the Canadiens after their heartbreak result Wednesday. Montreal sorely needed a 1-0 lead.


It’s impossible to pick one. Anyone who scored for the Canadiens was a key part of this answer to keep their season alive.


Bishop allowed three goals on 14 shots. He surrendered four goals total throughout the previous three games in the series.


The Lightning face the Canadiens in Game 5 at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Bell Centre.

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.