Repeat it to yourself: It just didn’t matter.
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost Saturday night to Montreal, 5-2, for the third time in its last four games, and it’s fifth time in its last eight, to conclude its regular season. Tampa Bay now proceeds to play Detroit in the playoffs.
The Lightning absorbed more than defeat, however. Center Tyler Johnson was driven into the boards by Greg Pateryn, which left Jon Cooper livid.
“There’s honor and there’s respect, and that kid didn’t show either of them,” Cooper said. “It was egregious. I’m at a loss for what happened. Hopefully, he’ll be okay. That could be career-ending. Of course there is concern. If it had been a playoff game, he wouldn’t have come back.”
Johnson, one of the stars of the Lightning’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals a year ago, joins Steven Stamkos (blood clot) and Anton Stralman (fractured fibula) on the injured list for Tampa Bay.
The Bolts fell behind 4-0 in two periods. They came back a bit with two third-period goals by Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin.
The Bolts open the Detroit series either Wednesday or Thursday.