Down 3-0 in the second round series, Montreal finally solved goaltender Ben Bishop on Thursday en route to a decisive 6-2 victory. As one-sided as that game was though, Montreal is still down 3-1. Can the Canadiens really beat the Lightning three more times in a row?
Montreal’s quest to make some history will continue in Game 5 tonight. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. ET and will air on NBCSN. However, you can tune in as early as 6:00 p.m. ET for pregame coverage. You also have the option of streaming it via NBC Sports Live Extra:
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Here are some relevant links:
Habs’ Beaulieu available for Game 5
Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight
Cooper replies to Subban’s ‘horseshoe’ remark about Bishop
Petry: ‘Hope is definitely alive’ for Habs
Stamkos: ‘We got what was coming’
Including the regular season, Montreal went into Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay without a single win in eight meetings. Another loss tonight would have ended the Canadiens’ playoff run, but instead they scored early and often in a 6-2 victory.
Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov set the tone of the game just 2:44 minutes in when he beat Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop. That put the game on a path that led to Bishop being pulled early in the second frame after allowing a soft goal from David Desharnais.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made his first career playoff appearance as a result, but it didn’t work out for him as Jeff Petry and Brendan Gallagher found the back of the net just 15 seconds apart to turn this contest into a blowout.
Tampa Bay was able to capitalize on a couple power-play opportunities after that, but Montreal didn’t let up in the third period so it’s hard for the Lightning to take many positives out of this one. Although they won Game 3, the Lightning were looking for a better performance tonight and didn’t get it.
Really the only silver lining for the Lightning is that they’re in a position to shake off this loss. They had a 3-0 series lead and thus still have three more chances to eliminate Montreal. Even still, it would be very dangerous to let the Canadiens get back into this series. With stars like goaltender Carey Price and defenseman P.K. Subban on their side, the Canadiens have the talent to make some history.
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Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop turned aside 30 of 31 shots to lead the Lightning to a 2-1 victory on Wednesday, but tonight’s game has been a very different story.
Montreal was able to take a 2-0 lead in the first period and it gained even more breathing room in the second courtesy of a shot by David Desharnais that Bishop should have stopped:
With that, Bishop was yanked just 25:08 minutes into the game after stopping 11 of 14 shots. Andrei Vasilevskiy, 20, made his playoff debut as a result. He hasn’t fared any better as he allowed two quick goals against Montreal.
Going into this game, Bishop had a commanding 1.65 GAA and .937 save percentage in 10 playoff contests, but fatigue might have been a factor as he was being asked to start in his second contest in as many nights.
Heading into their second-round series, many thought that the difference between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning may come down to who’s in net. So far, it’s been Ben Bishop making the big saves instead of Carey Price.
The desperate Habs have been carrying the play for much of this game (as of this writing, Tampa Bay lacks a second-period shot), yet Bishop keeps turning Montreal aside. As you can see from this stop, sometimes he’s also getting a little luck:
Bishop also stopped Dale Weise by a narrow margin:
So far, the Lightning hold a 1-0 lead against the Canadiens, but you have to wonder how many times Bishop can save the day.
The Montreal Canadiens are hoping to even their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 tonight, but they will have to do so without the services of David Desharnais. The 28-year-old forward is battling the flu and is consequently not playing.
Desharnais had 14 goals and 48 points in 82 games in the regular season. He’s recorded two assists in seven playoff contests. This is the first time he’s missed a Canadiens game since the start of the campaign.
Brian Flynn has drawn into the lineup as a result and is centering a line that includes Alex Galchenyuk and Dale Weise.
Montreal surrendered a sixth round pick to acquire Flynn from the Buffalo Sabres on March 2. The 26-year-old had five goals and 17 points in 63 contests in the regular season. He has another goal and three points in five postseason games.