Tampa Bay Lightning (46-27-9) at Montreal Canadiens (46-28-8)
|Date & Time||Tuesday April 22, 2014, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Montreal Canadiens -185 / Tampa Bay Lightning +160 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Canadiens can be the first team to advance to the second round as they go for the series sweep against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are one loss away from elimination heading into Tuesday night’s game four at the Bell Centre but for a team that has battled adversity all season long and has overcome it in mysterious fashion don’t count them out just yet. The Lightning have had to deal with their captain demanding a trade out of town, their best player missing most of the year with a leg injury and now their Vezina caliber goaltender has missed all three playoff games thus far and yet the Lightning still believe they can win this series. The Bolts were very much alive in their game three defeat in what was the closest contest of the series in my opinion and after a goal allowed in the first 11 seconds of the opening frame that appeared as though it was going to be a knockout punch, Tampa goalie Anders Lindback was brilliant the rest of the way. Jon Cooper, Tampa’s head coach, was highly critical of the officiating in game three and for good reason as the Bolts had a disallowed goal and a very questionable offside call go against them and you can bet the team will be out for revenge in this one.
The Canadiens have battled their way through three gruelling playoff contests thus far and now have a chance at wrapping up their series with the Lightning and get some much needed rest before the start of a potential semi finals series with the Bruins or Red Wings. Montreal has ridden the play of Carey Price who has been sensational thus far and if the Habs are going to make a deep playoff push they are going to have to get continued strong play from their net minder. Montreal has had a balanced attack thus far as both Rene Bourque and Brendan Gallagher have stepped up their game in the postseason alleviating the pressure felt by the likes of Max Pacioretty and Thomas Vanek. While it was pretty well a foregone conclusion that Montreal was going to win this series once it was announced Ben Bishop would be out I still think the Bolts have a fighter’s chance here but I don’t like taking them at the Bell Centre. If Tampa is to win then Lindback will have to play very well and as such I think this one stays well under the total.