NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 18th
(All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (1-0) at Tampa Bay Lightning (0-1), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to even their Eastern
Conference quarterfinal series at one game apiece when they host the Montreal
Canadiens in Game 2 on Friday night.
The Canadiens won the opening tilt of the best-of-seven series on Wednesday,
claiming a 5-4 victory on Dale Weise's overtime tally. It's not surprising the
game went beyond regulation considering the Atlantic Division foes saw three
of their five regular-season meetings in 2013-14 enter OT.
After dropping a wild one in the opener, the Lightning hope to even this set
before it shifts to Montreal for Games 3 and 4. The third meeting is set for
Sunday at the Bell Centre with Game 4 scheduled for Tuesday.
Weise tallied with 1:52 remaining in overtime to give his club a leg up on
Tampa in the series. An in-season trade acquisition for Montreal, Weise scored
off a pretty backhand feed from linemate Daniel Briere to end the entertaining
contest. The wrister from just below the right circle beat a hapless Anders
Lindback on his stick side after Briere successfully held off Tampa Bay
defenseman Eric Brewer behind the net to deliver a perfect pass.
The goal marked the first postseason point for Weise, who was held off the
scoresheet in each of his previous six playoff games with the Vancouver
Canucks. Briere, meanwhile, notched his 110th career playoff point in his
109th game with the assist.
"It's not an easy thing, the roller coaster of emotion you're going to feel in
playoff games," Briere said. "That's part of the experience factor, knowing to
stay composed and stay focused"
Brian Gionta and Lars Eller picked up a goal and assist each for the
Canadiens, while Tomas Plekanec and Thomas Vanek also lit the lamp for the
third-place team in the Atlantic Division.
Carey Price earned the Game 1 victory despite stopping just 21-of-25 shots.
"It's nice to come in and get one here but it's still a long series and they
have a great team," said Gionta. "It was back-and-forth and it'll be no
different the next game."
Lightning star Steven Stamkos scored twice, including the game-tying goal with
just over 6 1/2 minutes left in regulation. Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn
also produced goals in the setback.
Subbing for the injured Ben Bishop, Lindback's first career NHL playoff
start went well despite the loss, as the rangy Swede came up with 39 saves.
"We didn't get the win so it's tough to find positives," said Stamkos. "Five
goals against is way too many in the playoffs. Hopefully now everyone has a
taste of playoff hockey, they know what it's all about."
Lindback will be back in net on Friday for his second career playoff start.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said he is hopeful Bishop could return in this
series, but can only see that happening if it extends past four games.
Tampa could be without Ondrej Palat, who left Game 1 in the third period with
an upper-body injury and did not return. Palat has 23 goals and 36 assists in
81 games as a rookie this season and is one of the leading candidate for the
Calder Trophy. On Thursday, Cooper said Palat will be a game-time decision
This is the second time the Canadiens and Lightning are meeting in the
postseason, with the Tampa sweeping Montreal in four games in the Eastern
Conference semifinals during its 2004 Stanley Cup championship season.
04/18 10:37:15 ET