There is no player on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster with the surname Murphy, but head coach Jon Cooper and his players felt like they were bitten by the old Murphy's Law adage that says anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
The Montreal Canadiens certainly deserved their 3-2 win to take a 3-0 stranglehold on the first-round series, but there were plenty of parts that didn't go the Lightning's way at the Bell Centre on Sunday.
With an electric atmosphere in Montreal before and after a brilliant pre-game ceremony that featured a spotlight that shone on each of the Canadiens' 24 Stanley Cup banners that hang in the rafters, Tampa Bay got off to a rough start.
Shortly after the Montreal hit the ice to Coldplay's Fix You and the anthems were sung, Canadiens forward Rene Bourque scored after he lassoed a flip pass from P.K. Subban. The game only was 11 seconds old.
But Lightning goalie Anders Lindback dug in and kept his club in the game until Steven Stamkos and his teammates got going in the second period. Rookie Ondrej Palat scored a power-play goal to tie the game.
A few shifts later it appeared Ryan Callahan pulled the Lightning ahead. But the goal was waved off by referee Francis Charron because of incidental contact made by Tampa Bay forward Alex Killorn on Montreal goalie Carey Price a moment before Callahan scored.
Killorn had toppled into the net after he was stopped on a scoring chance, but he couldn't immediately vacate Price's premises because Subban was keeping him from exiting the goal. When Killorn was finally freed, he made contact with Price's left pad on the left side of the crease. Price fell down and when the puck slid to Callahan on the other side, he got over there in time, but the puck slid underneath him.
NHL rule 69.3 states, "If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed."
Charron interpreted the rule to the letter of the law, but should Subban's interference not have been a factor in his ruling? Possibly. It sure opens up the debate again as to whether there should be a coach's challenge or possible video review on such matters.
Cooper was upset at the time of the controversy, but calmly answered questions afterwards to avoid a hefty fine.
"I was pissed then and I'm pissed now," Cooper said. "I see it one way. He saw it differently. He's a human being. I see it one way, he's sees it another.
"I know what I would have judged, but I'm one person and extremely biased. But I thought it was a good goal.
"Let's call a spade a spade, we only scored three goals - I mean two - and they scored three."
Of course, before the second period ended Montreal took a 2-1 lead on goal from Brendan Gallagher, who had gauze stuffed in his left nostril from a previous hit, to make matters worse for Tampa Bay.
The waved-off goal wasn't the only call the Tampa Bay coach had a beef with on Sunday. There was an earlier stretch pass to a breaking Stamkos that was whistled offside at the Montreal blue line. The Lightning also were upset that Price was allowed to go to the bench to have his skate blade fixed after he claimed he lost an edge after an Canadiens icing. This move allowed Price's gassed teammates some extra rest.
Scary moment for Stamkos
Another scary incident in the game occurred with just under four minutes to play in the second period when Stamkos fell to the ice after he battled with Montreal left wing Brandon Prust. While sliding, Stamkos was hit in the head by the knee of Canadiens defenceman Alexei Emelin. Stamkos went to the dressing room, but returned to action for the third period and didn't miss a shift.
Cooper made four lineup changes if you count the return of Palat, who missed Game 2 because of an upper-body injury. In came forwards Tom Pyatt and B.J. Crombeen as well as defenceman Mark Barberio, a Montreal product, and out came Richard Panik, Nikita Kucherov, Mike Kostka and Sami Salo, who has an undisclosed injury.
The Tampa Bay coach also caused a minor stir with his tongue-in-cheek comment after his team's morning skate, when he brought up the fact that the Habs have blown 2-0 leads coming home on three recent occasions in the 2011, 2006 and 1996 playoffs.
"At some point they're going to have to do that in front of their fans, try and knock us out," Cooper said. "I'm sure they've never had a 2-0 lead on the road and come back and blown it."
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