By Bradley Walker, 1010 Sports

MONTREAL (CBS) The Tampa Bay Lightning (17-20-3) had won three consecutive home games prior to the three-game road trip that ended last night, but three straight losses on the trip has kept Tampa Bay near the bottom of the Southeast division.

A 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night once again proved how inefficient the bolts have been on the road this season. They’ve been outscored 14-4 during the three-game skid in Canada, but what’s more important is that they failed to gain any ground for a playoff spot with the season nearly half way completed.

Montreal has struggled to find a winning formula which explains their last place standing  in the Northeast, but last night they were able to take advantage of a struggling Lightning squad.

Max Pacioretty scored the game winning goal and Carey Price had 23 stops to give the Canadiens their second straight win at the Bell Centre. Tampa Bay gave up two crucial goals in the second period, and given their track record they failed to make a comeback after losing the lead in the second.

Vincent Lecavalier scored the first goal of the game at 3:24 in the first, but sloppy defense and an overall lackadaisical attempt to compete led to the Lightning’s fifth straight loss on the road.

Mathieu Garon stopped 25-0f-28 shots to give his team a legitimate chance to win, but the lack of goal support didn’t help his cause.

The first goal is so crucial in hockey, but even with the first goal last night the bolts failed to sustain the momentum gained on Lecavalier’s behalf. That has been the problem for the Lighting the entire season. If they can’t play with intensity for 60 minutes, it will be a difficult road from here on out.

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