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Canadiens come from behind in third period to defeat Lightning

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The Tampa Bay Lightning haven’t finished second in many games this year.

Thursday night, however, the Montreal Canadiens were just a tad better.

The Lightning fell to 5-2 on the year in a 3-1 loss to Montreal, which improved to 7-0-1. The Canadiens scored three times in the third period to pull out the game.

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead on Alex Killorn’s sixth goal, but Montreal came back with an even-strength goal (by Alex Galchenyuk), a power-play goal (by Max Pacioretty) and an empty-netter (by Torrey Mitchell) to win.

“It was tough,” Killorn said.  “I think it was similar to a playoff atmosphere. Two good teams, it was tight checking, weren’t a lot of opportunities. We knew that coming in. We wanted to be patient. We get that lead, I thought we could have played a little bit better with that lead. Not that we didn’t play well in the third, but they were pretty opportunistic on that power play and they had a good period. They were just a little bit better in the third.”

Carey Price stopped 30 of 31 shots for Montreal. Ben Bishop stopped 23 of 25.

“It was a pretty even game,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “In the end, special teams; they got the power-play goal, and we didn’t. We had that kind of four-minute stretch there when we had one decent look. It comes down to two good teams playing. Chances were probably even, shots were close. It was a tight-checking game, and it came down to special teams and they got the better of us.

“You need to get almost perfect shots to go in, and they just had one more than us.”

The Lightning now travels to New Jersey to play the Devils on Saturday night. They play the New York Rangers Sunday.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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