Canadiens’ Alex Kovalev splits Lightning defencemen Paul Ranger (left) and Dan Boyle during the first period on Tuesday night.
Updated by The Gazette’s Kevin Mio
The Canadiens dropped their third straight game on Tuesday night with a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Eastern Conference’s worst team.
Vaclav Prospal scored a pair of goals for the Lightning, including the game winner 12 minutes into the third period.
Of their three consecutive losses, two have come against the worst teams in the East, including a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In between those two games was a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of the East’s best team, the Ottawa Senators. The Canadiens have also lost four of their last five games overall.
Canadiens goaltender Cristobal Huet would probably like to have all three Lightning goals back as the French netminder didn’t look comfortable in net. His counterpart, Karri Ramo, had a much easier night as the Habs could muster only 21 shots.
The Habs, playing their first game since the arrest of Ryan O’Byrne and Tom Kostopoulos, got off to a fast start as Christopher Higgins scored his 17th of the season only 50 seconds into the game.
Tampa Bay got that one back only a few minutes later when Michel Ouellet scored on a rebound 5:15 into the first period.
Before the halfway point of the period, Tomas Plekanec made it 2-1 for the Canadiens with a power-play goal, his 21st of the season, on a nice pass from Mark Streit.
But the lead would not last to the end of the period as Vaclav Prospal scored on a harmless looking shot with only 41 seconds to play. Prospal added his second of the game 11:51 into the third period to give Tampa Bay the lead for good.
After a solid first period, the Canadiens failed to put any pressure on Ramo and the Lightning, registering only four shots in the second period and eight in the third. Overall, the Habs were outshot 36-18, with the Lightning firing 17 shots on Huet in the third period.
The Canadiens will play the Florida Panthers Wednesday night.