“Must win game” is something that gets thrown around a little too loosely at times in sports, but Friday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens certainly qualifies as one for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
If they win, they get to fight another day in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
If they lose? Their playoff chances are officially finished.
You can see all of the action on NBCSN starting at 7:30 p.m. ET or on our Live Stream.
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Lightning look to keep slim playoff hopes alive.
While the Washington Capitals guaranteed their spot as the top seed in the Metro/East/NHL, we also now know with certainty that the New York Rangers will take on the Montreal Canadiens in the first round.
The Canadiens clinched the Atlantic Division while the Rangers are the first wild card.
The Rangers won the most recent series between the two teams, defeating Montreal 4-2 (with some controversy) in 2013-14. We’ll get to see Henrik Lundqvist vs. Carey Price, not to mention a revamped Rangers offense squaring off against a Habs team adjusting to life with new head coach Claude Julien.
The Atlantic Division teams took care of business on Monday, so it only makes sense that the division title was locked down. The Montreal Canadiens did just that tonight after beating the Florida Panthers 4-1.
The Canadiens are now at 46-24-9 with 101 points in 79 games after this, their fifth-consecutive win.
Artturi Lehkonen was the difference-maker in that win tonight, scoring consecutive goals as Montreal scored three unanswered tallies to finish off Florida.
Now Claude Julien has an interesting opportunity.
With the Metro title winner virtually assured of the East’s top spot, Montreal doesn’t have much to gain (beyond pride) in winning its final three games. That would, then, be a good opportunity to rest players; perhaps heavy workload-type like Carey Price and Max Pacioretty could use a breather?
Whatever the case may be, the Canadiens bounced back from last season’s letdown in a big way, even after changing coaches. Next step: topping all of these accomplishments in the playoffs.
The Chicago Blackhawks are battling for the Central Division crown while the Montreal Canadiens hope to get a stronger lead on the Atlantic’s top spot.
A Blackhawks – Canadiens game has lure just in the teams’ rich histories, but when both teams are contenders? Even better.
You can watch the game on NBCSN, online and via the NBC Sports App.
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Two contenders from each conference face off on NBCSN tonight as the Minnesota Wild host the Montreal Canadiens.
For Montreal, this just about ends what could have been a treacherous, road-heavy stretch. The Canadiens mostly passed a serious test. On the Wild’s side, they’re one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They’ve only lost two games since Dec. 4, only once failing to earn at least a standings point during that span.
So, yeah, this is a great matchup, even before you get to Carey Price vs. Devan Dubnyk. More on that here:
You can watch on NBCSN, watch online and via the NBC Sports App.
Click here for the livestream.