After winning Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final by a 5-1 margin on Monday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning look to build on their lead in Game 2 of the series on Wednesday night.
We get you ready with three keys for the game.
1. Replacing Alex Killorn
Every injury at this point in the playoffs is significant, but this one could be potentially impactful given how much Killorn has contributed this postseason.
He is second in the league in goals, fourth in total points, and plays on both the Lightning’s great power play and penalty kill units. He has his hands in every aspect of the game. That is a big player to replace.
The good news for the Lightning is the roster is still loaded with star power (Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos are all still there, of course) and this is a team that is used to playing without key players. They did, after all, play the entire regular season without Kucherov and a significant portion of it without Stamkos.
2. Montreal’s top line
Montreal’s shutdown line of Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault, and Artturi Lehkonen did its job in Game 1 by keeping the Lighting off the board when they were on the ice. In fact, they did exactly what they have done all season and postseason: Won the shot and scoring chance battle, shut out the other team’s top players, and won their head-to-head matchups. They were fine.
That trio was on the ice for three of Tampa Bay’s goals and did not generate many chances for themselves.
Montreal does not have the scoring depth that the Lightning have throughout its roster, so it is imperative that this group be better in Game 2. They are the Canadiens’ three best offensive players, and the players they are going to have to rely on to drive the offense. Even if they do not score a couple of goals they can not be on the ice for three goals against.
3. Limit the turnovers
Despite the 5-1 final score the Canadiens were not totally overmatched in Game 1. They did a lot of things well, especially during 5-on-5 play. They had an edge in total shot attempts, while the scoring chances and high-danger chances were fairly even on both sides. Territorially, the Canadiens did what they have done all season and won the possession game.
What cost them in the end were a couple of big turnovers, particularly on the Lightning’s first two goals, that ended up in the back of their net.
You can not make those mistakes in any game, in any series, against any team. You especially can not make them in the Stanley Cup Final against a team as good and talented as the Lightning. They will score enough goals on their own without needing assistance.
The Canadiens have overcome the odds all postseason and beaten teams with more talent on paper in each round. They have done so by playing smart, responsible hockey and not beating themselves. They got away from that at times in Game 1 of the series.
CANADIENS VS. LIGHTNING – (TB Leads Series 1-0) series livestream link
Game 1: Lightning 5, Canadiens 1
Game 2: Wed. June 30: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN / Peacock)
Game 3: Fri. July 2: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)
Game 4: Mon. July 5: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)
*Game 5: Wed. July 7: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)
*Game 6: Fri. July 9: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)
*Game 7: Sun. July 11: Canadiens at Lightning, 7 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)