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2015 NHL Playoffs Game 9 recap: Tampa Bay Lightning power play roars to life in 6-2 victory over Montreal Candiens in Game 2

The Tampa Bay Lightning take both games at Bell Centre to start the series and head home with a chance to make tonight's 6-2 win the last time Montreal Candiens fans see their team at home this season.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The first period saw another bad start for Tampa Bay, with giveaways galore and a strong forecheck from Montreal forcing the Bolts into a lot of poor decision-making especially in their defensive third.

The Habs, who also had a similar start in Game 1, capitalized this time with a Jeff Petry floater through a screen after a Cedric Paquette turnover. That gave the Habs a 1-0 lead, just thesecond time they've scored first in these playoffs

While Montreal continued to carry the balance of play, Brandon Prust and P.K. Subban both took horrendously bad, undisciplined penalties to turn the momentum in Tampa Bay's favor. Prust was called for speedbagging Braydon Coburn (a double minor) and Subban for crosschecking Ryan Callahan Dustin Byfuglien-style. The double minor was ugly; TB was nearly outchanced wtih a couple big saves needed from Ben Bishop. But a routine Valtteri Filppula one-timer from near the half-wall somehow got up over Carey Price's shoulder to tie the game heading into first intermission.

The early moments of the 2nd period did not look promising for the Lightning until a beautiful Steven Stamkos breakaway goal mid-way through got him out of his scoring slump and put the Bolts in lead for the first time on the night. Jason Garrison broke through the Habs aggressive forecheck with a nice pass up the middle to sends the captain in alone where he deked around Carey Price for his first of the playoffs and a 2-1 Bolts lead.

The Habs continued to head for the penalty box in the 2nd even after it stung them in the 1st; offsetting minors on Alexei Emelin and Vlad Mamestnikov put the teams at 4v4, with Tampa Bay the aggressor with open ice. A call on Tom Gilbert gave the Bolts' big guns even more time and space which they used perfectly. Nikita Kucherov capped off a pretty passing play from Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson for a 3-1 lead.

Victor Hedman added another power play goal in the expiring moments of the second period to really crush the Habs' hopes of hanging around in the game, giving the Lightning a three-goal lead to work with.

The Habs weren't without chances in the third period; a Torrey Mitchell wrister from the slot popped up over Bishop's shoulder and Valtteri Filppula had to sweep it out of mid-air before it could go into the net. Bishop was shaken up after contact from Mitchell, and the Lightning could basically use the resulting power play to defuse any Habs momentum, so naturally Nikita Kucherov scored the team's 4th power play goal of the game for a commanding 5-1 lead.

A long Tom Gilbert point shot escaped Ben Bishop near the midpoint of the third period to bring the Habs back within three goals, but it was ultimately a meaningless tally, especially after a hilarious J.T. Brown deflection somehow popped up and over the goal line for the 6-2 final.

Game Notes
  • Cedric Paquette left the game and went into the room during the second period with an undisclosed injury. There was no immediate update on his status following the game; the obvious repercussions of this are that Jonathan Drouin might finally find himself back in the lineup for Game 3 at Amalie Arena.
  • Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and J.T. Brown all scored their first goals of the playoffs in what ended up being a romp for the Lightning.
  • Carey Price is really good, but there is no secret to beating him:
  • A scuffle involving Brandon Prust, Ben Bishop, and eventually Braydon Coburn (who fought Prust) occurred near the end of the game, surprising no one.
  • The Lightning didn't just score on four consecutive power plays (after going 2/34 prior to that); they scored on four consecutive shots on those power plays.
  • Expecting the PP to continue to be this good is asinine, but they did do a few things better than in the past; better passing in the zone, better spacing, and a bit of trigger-happiness. Hopefully they break down the tape before Game 3 and figure out how to keep doing what worked.