Video: Canadiens end long power-play drought

The Montreal Canadiens have been struggling with the man advantage for a while now and early in Game 2 of their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, it didn’t look that slump was on the verge of ending.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was charged with a double-minor for high sticking, but Montreal couldn’t get anything going and squandered half of their power-play time by having too many men on the ice.

That extended their power-play drought to 27 failed attempts, dating back to their last goal with the man advantage on March 25, per the Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno.

Montreal got another chance early in the second period though and this time P.K. Subban and David Desharnais were able to take advantage of it:

Montreal has a 2-0 lead in the second period as they look to sweep the first two games in Tampa Bay.

‘Rejuvenated’ Weise enjoying the belief of his coach in Montreal

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Apparently, a fresh start in Montreal is just what Dale Weise needed.

Traded to the Canadiens by Vancouver in February, the 25-year-old forward was the overtime hero Wednesday in Tampa Bay. Not surprisingly, he’s feeling pretty good about life in the NHL these days.

“I just feel like my career got rejuvenated,” he said, per the Canadian Press. “The coaches here believe in me, they’ve had nothing but good things to say about me and look at the amount we were playing in overtime.

“It’s a coach (Michel Therrien) that has some trust in me and that just instills confidence in me. I just feel like every game I play with this team I continue to build confidence and get better.”

Weise’s coach with the Canucks was John Tortorella. The two were also together for a time in New York with the Rangers.

From the Vancouver Sun:

Weise and Tortorella had their problems when both were with the New York Rangers and there had been signs player and coach weren’t always seeing eye to eye in Vancouver.

“I thought I had some good stretches where I played real well,” Weise told Team 1040 radio on Monday. “I think I had my most success when I had the seven games there on the third line. It was easier for me to get in the action and contribute a little more. I was happy with my role in Vancouver and I thought I did it to the best of my ability.”

A good skater, Weise showed signs he could produce offensively while in the AHL, where he scored 57 times in 194 games for Hartford from 2008-11. He also had a rather prolific run — 22 goals and 26 assists in 19 games — while playing in the Netherlands during the lockout.

He looked pretty good scoring Wednesday’s winner, too.

“I got down on one leg, the old Brett Hull, and I just ripped it,” he said.

Weise gives Canadiens 1-0 series lead with overtime win

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The Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning gave hockey fans plenty of what was expected (great work from Thomas Vanek and Steven Stamkos), yet the game was just as much about the unexpected. If the frequently wide-open pace wasn’t surprising enough, Dale Weise broke the star-scoring narrative by notching the 5-4 overtime game-winner to give Montreal a 1-0 series lead.

Let’s take a look back at how the contest came down to Weise’s surprising game-winner.

Score-wise, the game was a seesaw affair as the two teams traded leads throughout. Tampa Bay opened the scoring midway through the opening frame on a Nikita Kucherov marker, but Montreal replied just 19 seconds later when Tomas Plekanec walked Radko Gudas and snapped the puck past Anders Lindback.

In the second period, a similar narrative unfolded — Steve Stamkos gave the Bolts a 2-1 lead at the 13:24 mark, only for Montreal to respond with the equalizer minutes later on Brian Gionta’s shorthanded tally.

In the third, guess what? More lead changes. This time it was Montreal blowing a pair of one-goal advantages, though, as Lars Eller’s early marker was canceled out by Alex Killorn’s first-ever playoff goal; minutes later, Thomas Vanek’s go-ahead 4-3 goal was equaled when Stamkos scored his second of the game with six and a half minutes remaining.

The Bolts hung with the Habs despite being largely outplayed and badly outshot (35-16) during regulation. Lindback, forced into the starter’s role late in the regular season after Ben Bishop went down to an upper-body injury, was solid in the face of heavy action, finishing with 39 saves on 44 shots.

Carey Price was billed as the sure thing in this goalie matchup, yet he had the rougher night in regulation, at least statistically speaking. Chances are, he’ll gladly take a weak outing on paper (he made 21 out of 25 saves) if it means getting a key win.

The two teams get back at it on Friday with the Lightning facing the prospect of heading to Montreal down 0-2. This team has shown remarkable resiliency this season, but Tampa Bay might dig too deep a hole if they can’t bounce back in Game 2.

One bonus note: after all this time, Daniel Briere still seems to have a knack for scoring in the playoffs:

Video: Canadiens’ Gallagher returns after taking puck to throat

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Hockey players tend to fight through grueling injuries all season long, but with the playoffs in motion, it’s time for them to really shake off some scary stuff.

Ignoring players shaking off injuries heading into Game 1, Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher might be the first truly impressive tough guy, as he didn’t miss much time after taking a puck to the throat:

Ouch.

Lightning gain home-ice against Canadiens by edging Caps

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The Tampa Bay Lightning grabbed home-ice advantage over the Montreal Canadiens thanks to a shootout win (1-0 via “the skills competition”) against the Washington Capitals on Sunday.

It seems like a fitting victory in a number of ways. For one thing, the gap between the Lightning and Canadiens has been razor-thin this season; the Lightning won three of the four meetings, but most came down to the wire. The Bolts won 2-1 (SO) in Montreal on Nov. 12, the Habs won 2-1 (SO) in Tampa Bay on Dec. 28, the Lightning won 2-1 (OT) on the road on Feb. 1 and Tampa Bay closed out the only regulation win between the two by a score of 3-1 at home on April 1.

The loss was also fitting for the Capitals. Washington participated in an NHL-record 21 shootouts in 2013-14, going 10-11 in that regard. (Place “What if the Caps mastered the shootout instead of being merely average in that regard?” on the team’s pile of “What if?” questions.)

Amid a week of turmoil for the Lightning with Ben Bishop’s injury and Ryan Malone’s arrest, the Bolts must feel heartened to see strong play from Anders Lindback. He’s now a three-game winning streak with two shutouts, only only two goals in that span (stopping 77 out of 79 shots).

The towering 25-year-old still sports an ugly 8-12-2 record and poor individual stats over the long haul of this season, but the Lightning need him to play at his highest level against a Montreal team that clearly seems capable of pushing them in this upcoming first-round series.