If there was only one play to describe how badly the Lightning bullied the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, it came at the 13:42 mark in the third period. Brendan Gallagher tried (and failed) to engage Tampa Bay’s Mikhail Sergachev, ultimately coming away with a bloodied head for his trouble.
The incident occurred shortly after Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped a shot on goal by Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen, with Tampa up 4-1; Gallagher attempted to cross-check Sergachev, but the latter’s teammate Blake Coleman skated in from behind, grabbing Gallagher’s head and pulling his helmet off his head. Following that, Sergachev grabbed Gallagher, eventually wrestling him to the ground.
Unfortunately for the Canadiens right wing, he hit the ice with his head, causing blood to pour profusely down his face (warning: potentially disturbing content):
Gallagher left the game, with Coleman getting two minutes for roughing. The incident was only one of several chippy moments throughout the game, though it was clear Tampa was the more physically imposing team in the 5-1 victory.
Surprisingly, Tampa was credited with 57 hits to Montreal’s 58; the Bolts also had three penalties to the Canadiens’ four, with two fewer penalty minutes. For his part, Gallagher had only three shots and two hits in the loss.
The forward, who has become a defensive force with centerman Phillip Danault, had a rough night from the jump. Video showed he stepped onto the ice for warmups and stepped on a puck causing him to go down. It may have been an omen of how the night was going to go. He seemed to be OK. Gallagher, a notorious pest, also mucked it up in the first period and took a cross-check to the head by Barclay Goodrow. The Lightning forward got called but Montreal could not capitalize with the man advantage.
Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final takes place Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Tampa Bay.