Bell Centre in Montréal is the only NHL arena that Jon Cooper has coached in before his hiring as the Lightning's new head coach. He oversaw the Syracuse Crunch play the Hamilton Bulldogs there during the 2012 NHL Lockout, a 4-1 victory for the Crunch Bunch and a devastating loss for the Baby Habs. Why do I say devastating? J.P. Cote's hit on Blake Geoffrion that has ended Blake's career:
But that has no bearing on the Lightning game in Bell Centre tonight. It's just an interesting factoid that Cooper hadn't coached in any other NHL arena - yet has coached in Bell Centre.
Tonight's game in Montreal is the last regularly scheduled road game for the Lightning this season. Is it the absolute last road game? No; the Bolts will travel to Boston late next week to play a make-up date with the Bruins.
But that's later; let's look at sooner - tonight. Montreal has dropped their last 3 games (but has clinched a playoff spot, so it's better they get the losses out of their system now before the playoffs. 5-5-0 in their past 10, Les Habs are still a sight better than the Lightning who are 3-4-3 in their past 10. The redeeming part of that sub-.500 record is that the team has been doing something that they failed to do earlier in the season - grab the loser-point. If the Lightning had been capable of achieving that feat earlier in the season -Guy Boucher may still have his job and the Bolts playoff chances wouldn't be dead right now. Maybe, maybe not.
That being said, the Habs had their hands full last night with the Pittsburgh Penguins, they lost 4-1. This could lead to an ugly game tonight (the Canadiens rebounding against a much lesser opponent, or wallowing and struggling).
Tom Pyatt remains out for the Bolts with the ambiguous upper body injury; he skated in the red no-contact jersey this morning and hopes to play on Sunday at Times Palace against Carolina.
While the Canadiens haven't named their starter yet, it'll be Ben Bishop back between the pipes for the Lightning. It'll be his eighth start for the Lightning, and while his numbers haven't been great - the guys playing in front of him are partly to blame.
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