Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadiens Run out of Gas, Eliminated by Lightning with Game 6 Loss

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadiens Run out of Gas, Eliminated by Lightning with Game 6 Loss

Article excerpt

Habs run out of gas, eliminated by Lightning

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TAMPA, Fla. - In Michel Therrien's eyes, his Montreal Canadiens lost their series to the Tampa Bay Lightning before Tuesday night.

They had opportunities to jump on Tampa Bay in Game 1 and to win Game 3. In falling behind three games to none, the Canadiens dug themselves too deep a hole and had nothing left in the tank to complete the comeback, losing 4-1 in Game 6 at Amalie Arena to be eliminated.

"I felt as a coach that physically and mentally we were drained," Therrien said. "So disappointed. I guess those things happen."

The Habs were the last Canadian-based team left in the playoffs. But for the 21st straight season, one will not win the Stanley Cup.

Tampa Bay will face either the New York Rangers or the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference final beginning Saturday. It's the Lightning's third trip to the conference final and first since 2011.

"I've always talked about 2011 was the most fun I've ever had playing this game," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "We're getting right on that right now."

A second-round exit for Montreal looked likely after falling behind 3-0, but this team became the first in franchise history to even reach a sixth game when faced with that deficit. That was little consolation in the moments after the season ended.

"That's not really an excuse, though, because we put ourselves down 0-3," goaltender Carey Price said. "It is what it is."

For the first time in the second-round series the Habs were outshot, this time 28-19, and they weren't close for the first time since a 6-2 blowout loss in Game 2. Price stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced and took responsibility for his team being done.

But a lack of offence actually doomed the Habs, as Max Pacioretty's goal late in the third period was more of a last gasp than a chance to get back into the game. Tampa Bay's goals -- two by Nikita Kucherov and one each from Stamkos and Ondrej Palat put Montreal in another hole too deep to climb out of, and Kucherov's empty-netter sealed it.

There were chances early on, but no adequate response to what Therrien called the Lightning's best game of the series. …

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