TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning dropped to second place in the Atlantic Division after a disappointing loss to Montreal.
Rookie Mike Condon made 26 saves for his first NHL shutout and the Canadiens beat the Lightning 3-0 on Thursday night.
Tampa Bay is two points behind Florida after the Panthers defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-2.
“There’s no excuses here,” Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos said. “Look yourself in the mirror time. If you’re not giving the effort, then you’re letting your teammates down. That’s not acceptable at this time.
“I still have 100 per cent belief that this group is special and can get it done,” Stamkos added. “We have the guys. I believe in them and we’ve got to start believing in ourselves.”
“I thought we competed,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. “We played the right way. I’m happy for Condon for his first NHL shutout. It’s good for him.”
“Fortunately I was able to get a pad on it,” Condon said about his save on Palat.
It was Condon’s 52nd NHL game, all coming this season.
“It was a fun game,” he said. “It’s a special feeling.”
Alexei Emelin played in his 300th game and had two assists.
Playing in his 400th game, Desharnais got his first goal in 13 contests off a rebound to put Montreal ahead 1-0 at 9:11 of the first.
Mitchell skated into the slot from the left wing and made it 2-0 when he lifted a shot over Ben Bishop 52 seconds into the second.
Danault added a late empty-netter.
Tampa Bay had just three third-period shots and didn’t get one during a late power play.
“That just can’t happen,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You’re pushing to make the playoffs. That was probably the frustrating part for me.”
Bishop reached behind himself to glove Lars Eller‘s right-circle shot during a power play 6 minutes into the game. Bishop finished with 21 saves.
“We were hoping to take a step forward,” Bishop said. “It’s not good enough. There’s a lot of people talking the talk but not that many guys walking the walk.”
Montreal defenceman Nathan Beaulieu left after one period with a broken thumb and will miss the rest of the season.
NOTES: After hosting New Jersey on Saturday night, the Lightning close out the regular season with road games against the New York Islanders, New York Rangers, the Devils and Montreal … Montreal G Carey Price (lower-body injury) practiced with the team for first time since getting hurt on Nov. 25. … Kucherov (two games, foot) and teammate Ryan Callahan (five games, lower body) both returned from injuries. … Montreal D P.K. Subban (neck) sat out his 10th straight game. … The Canadiens recalled D Brett Lernout on an emergency basis from St. John’s.