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Category: Tampa-Bay-Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning Need A Win On Tuesday

from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,

The Lightning skated off the ice, heads down, dejected, eyes to the ground. The Bell Centre crowd, going insane, left the Lightning's ears ringing and its heads splitting.

As the Lightning stepped off the white sheet and down the tunnel toward the locker room, it surely had one thought in its mind: No way we want to come back here again.

That means the Lightning's hopes of moving on to the next round, its dream of a Stanley Cup and, more critically, everything it has accomplished this season will be on the line in Game 6 Tuesday night at Amalie Arena.

That is the Lightning's game of the year after Saturday night's 2-1 loss in Game 5 — a loss that really wasn't all that surprising but was nonetheless heartbreaking. Montreal scored with only 4:07 left to snap a 1-1 tie and send this series back to Tampa Bay.

A comfy 3-0 series lead has dwindled to a 3-2 pressure cooker.

"We put ourselves in this position," defenseman Anton Stralman said. "We definitely want to finish it off."

continued

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Habs Goal Is Game 7 In Montreal

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

A Montreal Canadiens executive walking out of the Bell Centre well after the game ended Saturday night observed that the rink was as loud as it had been in a long time.

Imagine what it would sound like for a Game 7?

Oh, my.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have no intention of finding out. But what they do know is that the Habs aren’t going away quietly, Saturday’s 2-1 win by the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge suddenly making this a very interesting series.

“I said it in Game 3 before the game, and unfortunately it didn’t go our way, but I said it’s easy to tell the guys that want to keep playing and you can tell by the effort and sacrifice that guys are making on the ice," said Habs star blue-liner P.K. Subban, who had his best game of the series. "Right now, as part of the leadership group, there’s not one guy who isn’t carrying his weight or looks like he doesn’t want to play. Everybody is on board and energetic and it has been that way for the most of the of series."

continued

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Ben Bishop’s ‘Horseshoe’ Has Been Turned Upside Down

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,

“I definitely think that us scoring six goals is huge; it’s huge for our confidence,” Subban said Thursday after the Canadiens staved off elimination in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal with a 6-2 win in Tampa’s Amalie Arena.

Bishop, who has dominated the Canadiens over the past two seasons, was pulled Thursday after giving up three goals on 14 shots.

Tampa coach Jon Cooper said he pulled Bishop to rest him because he was playing on back-to-back nights. That makes sense, but at the same time Bishop didn’t look comfortable, giving up several rebounds and for the second time in this series he allowed a goal that was in his glove, embarrassing for someone who grew up playing baseball.

“I think Bishop sort of was sitting on a horseshoe for a little bit there,” Subban said. “He’s played well, but he’s been lucky as well. I think seeing him pulled out of the net is a confidence booster for our team.”

When told about Subban’s horseshoe comment, Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times: “He may be right. Or Ben might be a good goalie.”

read on

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No Sweep For The Tampa Bay Lightning

from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,

So, a reason for concern or merely a small bump in the road?

In the grand scheme of things, you would still rather be the Lightning than the Canadiens. After all, in a best-of-seven series, you would rather have three victories than one right now.

So just bump in the road for the Lightning, right?

Well, not so fast. True, it's one game, and it's hard to imagine the only team in the NHL that didn't lose three games in a row all season is now set up to lose four in a row. But the Lightning is not playing its best hockey at the moment. Not by a long shot.

Montreal probably should have won Game 1 and absolutely deserved to win Game 3. Tampa Bay won both only because of sensational work by goalie Ben Bishop, who was yanked after giving up three goals in less than half a game on Thursday.

What does it matter which team has looked better? Well, the best way to predict the immediate future is to examine the very recent past. And if the first four games have shown us anything, it's that the Canadiens, quite frankly, have been better than the Lightning.

"It's not even so much what they're doing," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "It's our lack of execution, our compete and our structure. When we stray from that, this league is too good to just go out and win hockey games on skill."

more

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Habs And Bolts Prepare For Back-To-Back Games

from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,

Tonight’s third game in the series will be the sixth meeting between the teams in less than 60 days and the first of back-to-back games, which comes with physical challenges.

“Can’t stand here and say I’m a big fan of back-to-backs,” said Tampa captain Steven Stamkos.

Following brisk morning skating sessions, players from both sides insisted the focus is solely on tonight as the Habs attempt to dig themselves out of trouble, while the Lightning shovels will be busy trying to make the hole deeper.

After two days spent recuperating, and in Montreal’s case ruminating over a 6-2 loss in game two, the clubs were mostly trying to channel their energy and find playoff-level focus.

The Habs talked about the benefits of rest – “We need to play fast to have success,” said winger Alex Galchenyuk – and the need to avoid a familiar pitfall: penalties.

The Tampa power-play suddenly roared to life in the last game, the Habs will doubtless be encouraged to know such a thing is possible. They are 1-for-26 in the playoffs with the man-advantage.

“We’ve got the right Xs and Os, we’ve just got to make the plays,” said centre Lars Eller, who was sent out more regularly on the power play in game two.

more

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Video- Habs And Rangers Need A Win Tonight

via Sportsnet,

The Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers currently face uphill climbs in their respective series, if either want to return the Eastern Conference Final, they’ll need to step it up.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Tampa Bay Lightning In Control Heading To Game 3

from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,

It took two wins this playoff series — seven wins, if you count the regular season — but the Lightning have rattled le Club de hockey Canadien into a whimpering, whiny mess.

To be continued?

A Tampa Bay sweep might be a public service. I mean, Canadiens pouty game misconductor Brandon Prust threw his smelly elbow pad into the Lightning bench near the end of the Lightning’s 6-2 Game 2 rout in Montreal. If this thing went seven games, Prust would be down to his skivvies, or less. No thank you.

The naked truth: The Lightning appear to be inside the Canadiens’ heads.

To be continued?

Just last season, on the way to being swept by the Canadiens, the Lightning put up a brave face as they headed to Montreal down 0-2. That lasted 11 seconds into Game 3, when Rene Bourque scored for the Habs.

Now the skate is on the other foot.

On to this Game 3.

continued

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The Montreal Canadiens Need A Win

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

... Monday was a day to get on a plane and lick some wounds, now that Montreal is down 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, with Games 3 and 4 set for Wednesday and Thursday at Amalie Arena.

"Today is not an easy day, especially when you end up losing those two games at home," Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien said Monday on a conference call. "We've traveled to Tampa, and tomorrow we need to have a good practice, stay upbeat and be ready for Wednesday. But [the two off-days] could be a good thing for us."

Habs forward Torrey Mitchell was part of the 2011 San Jose Sharks team that jumped out to a 3-0 series lead over Detroit, only to see the Red Wings push it to seven games. That's the kind of personal experience he can glean from right now.

"Absolutely, and even more recently, just in the last series, you saw how difficult it was to close out Ottawa," Mitchell said Monday on a conference call. "By no means do we feel like we're done. We're excited about the next game, and that's where our focus is at right now."

You never want to count out a team that has Carey Price in goal. He can single-handedly change the script, as he did with his 43-save, Herculean effort in Game 6 of the first round to finish off a rabid Senators team smelling blood.

The thing is, I just don't see the same team of a year ago, which had more pizzazz about it. Montreal had that "it" factor in sweeping Tampa and upsetting Boston in seven games.

read on

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Advantage Tampa Bay Lightning

from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,

Somewhere today, Jon Cooper should be penning a letter of thanks to those brain-cramped Habs. Not only did they help his team find its own struggling power play with four man-advantage goals on the night, they also helped Steven Stamkos climb down off the milk carton.

There’s no free pass for Prust and his mates on this one, although the veteran forward did his best to hand the blame to Watson as he stood under the “Pas d’excuses — No excuses” sign in the Canadiens room, making his excuses.

It all started with Prust (who was having a strong post-season until Sunday night) trying to goad Lightning defenceman Braydon Coburn into a fight in front of the Tampa Bay net. (It should be noted that the puck, at the time, was at the other end of the ice.) The roughing was pretty much routine: Prust grabbed Coburn’s jersey and gave him a couple of shoves. Coburn refused the invitation to dance. Watson made the call.

Now Brendan Gallagher endures worse a dozen times a night with no call but them’s the breaks. Given that the Canadiens were leading 1-0 and playing very well at the time, you have to wonder why Prust decided that was the moment to stir things up. Then he compounded the felony with an unsportsmanlike for saying (in his words) that the call was a little soft. It’s a safe bet that Prust didn’t phrase it quite that way but Watson’s reaction was still way out of line.

more

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Will The Montreal Canadiens Open The ‘Floodgates’?

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

The Habs came unglued Sunday evening. They’re down two-zip in the series heading to Tampa and don’t yet have an answer.

Are we looking at a possible sweep here? Don’t count out the Habs just yet, Prust warned.

"I think it’s just going to feel that much better when we win and the floodgates open and we get rolling," Prust said. "It’s going to feel that much better."

Bold words, but it’s on the ice the Canadiens have to prove themselves now. They look lost, and the Lightning are looking more dangerous than they have all playoff long.

more on last night's game...

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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