Lightning vs Canadiens. Canadiens vs Lightning. Montreal took a one game lead in overtime after the opening contest. Look for tonight to be more of the same between two top-tier, high skill NHL teams.
Corey Price looked uncharacteristically easy to score on in the early part of game one. The Canadiens rose to the challenge, delivering a 5-4 overtime win over a youthful Lightning team.
The Montreal Canadiens – and yes, that’s Canadiens, not Canadians, for those of you following along in Tampa Bay (it’s the French spelling) – are the only team representing Canadians in the 2014 NHL playoffs. While a majority of the league’s players are still Canadian, most NHL teams are now in the United States.
Look for the Canadiens to represent all Canadians well throughout the Lightning vs Canadiens series.
Don’t write the Lightning out yet, though. Tampa Bay has a young team, but they’re a hungry team, as they showed in their near miss in game one. An AP report quotes Tampa Bay team captain Steve Stamkos – who scored two of the Lightning’s four goals – after game one:
“We didn’t get the win, so it’s tough to find positives. Five goals against, way too many in the playoffs. Hopefully, everybody has a taste of playoff hockey. They know what it’s all about. We definitely have to do better to stay in this thing.”
Alex Killorn, who scored for the Lightning in the third period to force overtime, adds:
“I think at the beginning, we might have been a little too excited. As the game wore on, I thought we handled it pretty well. Everybody likes to say we are young and don’t have a lot of playoff experience, but we all know how to play hockey.”
According to a Fox Sports report, Montreal goalie Carey Price acknowledged that the Canadians’ sole team in the playoffs would need to step it up on defense if they want to win the Lightning vs Canadiens series:
“It’s always a positive to win a game when you give up four goals. Moving forward, obviously we would like to reduce that…I thought our puck pressure was really good. We were skating very well and playing in-your-face type of hockey. I think if we want to have continued success, we’re going to have to bring the same type of mentality and effort.”
And for Tampa Bay fans (or Canadians as opposed to Canadiens), you can watch the Lightning vs Canadiens game live here.