Although the Tampa Bay Lightning were able to squeak past the Detroit Red Wings in the first round, Steven Stamkos didn’t score a single goal in that seven-game series. Stamkos continued to have difficulty finding the back of the net — or even taking a shot — early in the second round, but that goal scoring slump is behind him.
Stamkos beat Canadiens netminder Carey Price for the second straight game to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead over Montreal:
The Lightning captain is on a five-game point streak and has three goals and seven points over that span. With Tampa Bay up 3-2 in its second round series, Stamkos’ latest marker has put the pressure on the Canadiens.
Montreal has done a fantastic job making this a series after falling behind 3-0, but unless the Canadiens step up soon their comeback attempt will fall short.
Montreal was able to build off of strong starts to win Game 4 and 5 of its second round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canadiens don’t have that luxury tonight.
After a bad turnover by Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec, Nikita Kucherov was able to tip in Ondrej Palat’s shot to beat goaltender Carey Price at 15:35 of the first period:
That was Kucherov’s fifth goal of the series. He now has nine points in 13 playoff games in 2015.
The Lightning were able to carry that 1-0 lead into the first intermission. They also outshot Montreal 13-6 in that frame and had a 12-8 edge in hits.
Tampa Bay has held the lead just three other times after 20 minutes in the 2015 playoffs, but the squad was able to win all of those contests.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper didn’t want to completely rule out Ryan Callahan for Game 6 despite the fact that the forward underwent an emergency appendectomy on Monday. Callahan was unsurprisingly not part of the Lightning’s lineup for Tuesday’s contest against Montreal though.
As projected, Cooper instead inserted Jonathan Marchessault into the lineup over Jonathan Drouin. That decision raised a few eyebrows as Drouin is a highly regarded young forward while Marchessault has just four games worth of NHL experience.
That being said, Marchessault has excelled in the minors with 24 goals and 67 points in 68 AHL games this season. He’ll play alongside Cedric Paquette. Tampa Bay is going with seven defensemen with Nikita Nesterov serving as the extra blueliner.
Callahan’s absence is also projected to led to Brenden Morrow playing alongside Brian Boyle and J.T. Brown. Tampa Bay’s top two lines should stay the same.
The Montreal Canadiens have fought back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Given that Game 7 will be in Montreal if necessary, an argument can be made that tonight’s contest is Tampa Bay’s best remaining chance to end this series.
That task got harder last night when forward Ryan Callahan had an emergency appendectomy that’s expected to keep him out of tonight’s contest. Jonathan Marchessault, who has just four games worth of NHL experience, might be inserted into the lineup as a result.
The contest will start at 7:30 p.m. ET and air on NBCSN, but you can tune in as early as 7:00 p.m. for pregame coverage. You also have the option of streaming the game via NBC Sports Live Extra:
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With Callahan out, it may be Marchessault, not Drouin, who draws in
Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight
Report: Callahan has emergency appendectomy, out for Game 6
Bolts are ‘angry’ heading into Game 6, says Cooper
Morrow believes Bolts’ ‘A-game has to come out here pretty soon’
Cooper on Price: ‘His numbers against the Tampa Bay Lightning are very pedestrian’
Subban expects Bishop ‘to be a lot better’ in Game 6
From Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune:
This, of course, is related to Ryan Callahan’s emergency appendectomy that’s expected to keep the veteran winger out of the lineup tonight in Montreal.
While Lightning coach Jon Cooper wasn’t ruling anything out, including Callahan playing, it sounds like Jonathan Marchessault, an undrafted 24-year-old who’s played just two games for the Lightning, will get the call over Jonathan Drouin, the third overall pick in 2013 who appeared in 70 games for the Lightning this season, plus three more in the playoffs.
Drouin last played in Game 4, a 6-2 Tampa Bay defeat.
Marchessault had a team-high 67 points in 68 games for AHL Syracuse during the regular season. He had one goal and one assist and was named the game’s first star in his last NHL appearance, on Apr. 11 versus Boston.
Related: Cooper says Drouin will play at some point in second round