Montreal Canadiens (46-28-8) at Tampa Bay Lightning (46-27-9)
|Date & Time||Friday April 18, 2014, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -115 / Montreal Canadiens +105 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Lightning look to salvage a split on home ice as they host the Canadiens in game two of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series that favours the Canadiens 1-0.
The Canadiens generated a lot of momentum in a number of stanzas in their series opener against the Lightning but they always seemed to hand it back on a silver platter, especially to Tampa forward Steven Stamkos who was all over the ice. The see-saw battle continued all night long and it was only fitting that the series opener was decided in overtime and it was an unlikely source providing the dagger as Dale Weise, the former Vancouver Canucks forward who was traded to the Habs midseason picked up the winner. Montreal has Carey Price to thank once again as he was special in the overtime period and despite having a lackluster game overall the Vezina nominee proved once again he is one of the best goalies in the world and his team will go as far as he takes them. Montreal will look to skate home with a 2-0 series advantage but they know they Bolts will be desperate to salvage the split setting up a very exciting game two.
The Lightning are the higher seed in this series as the two Atlantic division foes jockeyed for home ice until the very last day of the regular season where ultimately the Bolts came away on top. Unfortunately though they have already lost that luxury as the Habs took game one and while it is still very early to be making bold claims you have to think this one is a must win type for Tampa Bay. The Canadiens are a very solid team at home especially in the playoffs and to think they can even the series on the road is a longshot so they need to ensure the series will shift back to Tampa Bay by winning this one. Tampa Bay is a very solid team that has battled adversity all season and while I am a big fan of Price and the Canadiens in this series I do think it can go the distance or at the very least to five or six games. As such, I think Tampa Bay responds here as Stamkos plays another solid outing in what could be a return for Ben Bishop as well though it is unlikely.