By Leo Haggerty


Tampa Bay scored a couple of goals in all three periods and beat Montreal 6-3 at the Bell Center.  That gave the Lightning a 3-0 stranglehold on the finals series with an opportunity to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup with one more triumph.

The Bolts took a quick 2-0 advantage in the first period.  D Jan Rutta (2) scored just 1:52 into the opening period and that was followed by D Victor Hedman (2) converting a power play opportunity with a slap shot from the high slot that Canadians G Carey Price (24 saves on 29 shots) could not stop.

The Habs dented the scoreboard later in the first period.  F Phillip Denault (2) put the biscuit in the basket at 11:19 to cut the Tampa Bay lead to 2-1 and that would be the count as both teams went to their locker room at the first intermission.

The Lightning notched a pair of goals before Canadian marker in the second period.  F Nikita Kucherov (8) and F Tyler Johnson (3) both lit the lamp at 1:40 and 3:33 respectively.  Montreal F Nick Suzuki (7) slid a wrister that eluded Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy (32 saves on 35 shots) to cut the margin to 4-2 after 40 minutes of play.

Tampa Bay stretched their lead to 5-2 late in the third period.  Johnson (4) scored his second goal of the evening at 15:19 but Montreal still had life when F Corey Perry (4) found the back of the net just 39 seconds later to brings the Habs closer at 5-3.

Any thoughts of a Canadian comeback was extinguished less than a minute later.  F Blake Coleman (3) gave the Bolts a 6-3 lead at 16:48 and that would be the final arithmetic as Game 3 became history.

The Lightning have a chance to sweep the series on Monday night when the puck is dropped for Game 4 at the Bell Centre.  Look for a big effort from the guys in the red sweaters so a series clinching victory will have to be earned.

Meet you at the TV to see what transpires.  Have a safe 4th of July weekend and GO BOLTS!