NHL Hockey

Lightning aim to find groove vs. Habs

The Tampa Bay Lightning look to break out of a rare slump when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

The Lightning are 2-2-1 over their first five games, winning once in their last four contests. Tampa Bay never banked fewer than two victories during any four-game stretch during the 2018-19 campaign.

The latest setback was a 4-2 loss to Ottawa on Saturday. The Senators entered the game winless in their first three outings, yet it was the Lightning who looked "disjointed," in the opinion of defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

"I don't think it was for lack of effort ... (we were) really not understanding the situations and momentum swings of the game," McDonagh said. "I think that's something we've got to learn as a team. We go out and get in our groove and feel confident, but when it's not there, you've got to really simplify and you've got to be really good in your support."

Tampa Bay recorded only 21 shots against the Senators, with just one of these shots coming during four unsuccessful power-play chances. Though five games, the Lightning have been outshot 171-132.

While the Lightning look to get on track, the Canadiens enter Tuesday's matchup riding the momentum of a 6-3 win over the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues on Saturday. The Habs snapped a two-game losing streak by scoring four unanswered goals for the comeback win.

"That was probably our most complete game of the year," Canadiens alternate captain Brendan Gallagher said. "We were skating, we had our legs, we were in their face, we were creating a lot of turnovers, and we got the crowd involved. ... I think we got rewarded with two points that we deserved tonight."

Gallagher, Tomas Tatar and Phillip Danault have combined for 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in Montreal's two wins this season. The top line has produced only one goal and two assists in Montreal's other three games, all losses.

Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin has a five-game point streak (two goals, four assists) to start the season. It marks a positive start for Drouin, who has struggled to consistently produce offense since coming to the Canadiens from the Lightning in a June 2017 trade.

Mikhail Sergachev, acquired by the Lightning in the Drouin trade, leads the team in plus-minus (+5) and also is tied for the team lead in points (six). Sergachev has recorded an assist in each of Tampa Bay's last three games.

Carey Price saved 26 of 29 shots in Montreal's win over the Blues. Price is off to a slow start, with a 3.38 goals against average over his first 248 minutes.

Andrei Vasilevskiy is also looking to get into form after posting a 3.04 GAA over 177 minutes. The defending Vezina Trophy winner has started both of Tampa Bay's wins this season, and sat out Saturday's loss to Ottawa.

The Lightning are 7-1-1 in their last nine games against the Canadiens.

--Field Level Media

Updated October 14, 2019

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