Montreal Canadiens (44-24-9) at Tampa Bay Lightning (38-29-9)
|Date & Time||Saturday April 1, 2017, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning / Montreal Canadiens --- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Tampa Bay Lightning look to continue their chase for a playoff spot as they battle the Atlantic leading Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
The Canadiens look to inch closer to claiming top spot in the Atlantic division with a big road victory against the red hot Tampa Bay Lightning in a game that should be very competitive between two teams who know each other very well. Montreal has battled inconsistency in the second half of the season and at one point looked like they were going to play their way right out of the playoffs altogether but they have since jumped back into the division lead and barring a late season collapse they should be able to lock up home ice advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs. Carey Price is expected to get the call as he usually does in the Montreal crease as he will face off against Andrei Vasilevskiy who has been brilliant since replacing Ben Bishop on a full time basis at the trade deadline.
The Lightning meanwhile were left for dead at the trade deadline as they made some moves that indicated to the rest of the league that they were going to regroup in the offseason but a late season surge has them just three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild card spot and they have a game in hand. Tampa Bay has always had the talent to be among the league’s elite and were considered one of the favourites to win the Stanley Cup coming into the season but injuries and underperformances from key players has them battling in the final week of the season just to sneak in. However, they are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have won four in a row and are starting to hit their stride at the right time.
The Canadiens are 7-1 in their last eight road games and 8-2 in their last 10 against the Eastern Conference while the Bolts are 7-1 in their last eight against the Atlantic and 6-1 in their last seven following a win. Montreal is the division leader but they have some breathing room while Tampa has no margin for error and at home they get it done here.