Tampa Bay Lightning (31-18-5) at Montreal Canadiens (29-20-5)
|Date & Time||Saturday February 1, 2014, 1:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Montreal Canadiens / Tampa Bay Lightning --- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Canadiens look to secure their third straight victory on Saturday afternoon as they host he Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre.
The Bolts have been the surprise team of the Eastern Conference this season as they have ridden the strong play of Ben Bishop in the Tampa Bay crease but a scare in Tampa’s last outing against the Sens that chased him from the game has all Tampa hockey fans holding their breath. Bishop left the game and did not return and is likely to sit out this one as well as well leaving the goaltending duties up to Anders Lindback for the time being. Tampa has been able to generate a ton of offensive production this season as Martin St. Louis leads the charge once again and getting Steven Stamkos back soon will only boost the team’s confidence but I still think the Lightning need to bring a piece or two in at the trade deadline. Nonetheless, they look to end their mini two game losing streak at the Bell Centre on Saturday and in the process pad their lead in the division standings over both Toronto and Montreal.
The Canadiens were in the midst of an ugly four game slide that had the ferocious Montreal media in a frenzy and calling for heads but they have responded nicely with back to back victories and Carey Price looked brilliant in recording a shutout in his last outing. Montreal is another team much like the Bolts that could use a piece or two at the trade deadline but the likelihood of them doing so is pretty low as they’ll have to give up young prospects to get a return and quite frankly it is the youngsters that are keeping the Habs afloat. Despite sitting four points back of the Bolts the Habs are favourites coming into this game as they are playing the better hockey of late but the biggest swing for me here is the goaltending advantage Montreal has if Bishop is on the bench which I think he will be and it might even be third stringer Cedric Desjardins getting the nod. Advantage, Montreal.