Savings time; Tampa Bay Lightning versus Montreal Canadiens preview

It's time to spring forward, are the Lightning up to the task? Does it make a difference who is starting in goal for the Bolts?

WHERE: Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
WHEN: 7 PM EST | | TICKETS: Check Availability
MEDIA: Sun Sports (cable), 970 WFLA (radio)
OPPONENT COVERAGE: Eyes on the Prize, All Habs

It's not spring yet, technically. Spring - the vernal equinox - doesn't arrive until 7:02 AM EDT on March 20th. 9 days, 11 hours and 50-odd minutes after the puck drops tonight at Times Palace between the Bolts and the Habs...

Yet the annual rite of passage occurs around 2 AM this morning: we spring forward and Daylight Savings Time commences. You'll lose an hour, seemingly, for a day or so while gaining an hour of sunlight through November.

Right about now it truly is daylight savings time though for the Lightning, as in save-the-season time. Daylight, in this instance, is playing hockey. The Bolts want to keep sunset from happening until much, much later... Like June.

"Rage, rage, against the dying of the light," et cetera .

You've heard all the flaws though; you've seen the results of the problems that plague the Lightning. Some of you put blame squarely on head coach Guy Boucher, others lay the blame on the personnel (hello, Tom Jones, who do you want to get rid of today?), while others will suffer the club through-and-through regardless of win or lose. The diehard crowd abides.

One flaw remains goaltending, and while I'll let Clare wax with her verbose statistical prose about those issues in-depth in another story, I will say here the flaws of the moment have given opportunity to the backup.

You remember Cedrick Desjardins, right? Cedrick "the Entertainer" was acquired in the summer of 2010 for Karri Ramo by the Lightning. He was called up in December 2010 after an injury felled goalie Mike Smith. Cedrick made two starts and then was sent back to the AHL when the Lightning acquired Dwayne Roloson.

An injury felled Desjardins, and influenced his departure from the Lightning organization. He signed with the Colorado Avalanche and played in the AHL with the Lake Erie Monsters in 2011-12, making 32 starts with a 2.11 GAA and .932 save%. He parted ways with the Avs organization after the season and headed back to the franchise where he started: The Montreal Canadiens. He was penciled in with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL where his stats were less than spectacular: a .905 save% and a 2.94 GAA.

Desjardins, 27, was re-acquired by the Lightning for fellow AHL goaltender Dustin Tokarski. Ced played in a total of 6 games with the Syracuse Crunch. He went 4-2-0 in those contests, posting a 1.85 GAA and a .928 save% with two shutouts. The same number he had in 22 appearances with the Bulldogs earlier in the season.

Desjardins was reacquired because he was more NHL ready than Tokarski in case something happened to one of the Bolts starting goaltenders. We'll see just how NHL-ready Desjardins is tonight versus the Canadiens potent attack.

The Canadiens boast the #4 attack in the NHL, with an average of 3.08 goals per game (behind only the offensive attacks of the Anaheim Ducks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Pittsburgh Penguins). Montreal, our soon-to-be division rival, leads the Northeast Division at current with 34 points... Hell, of the four potent offensive attacks I've listed, only the Lightning are at also-ran status in the standings.

That's because while Tampa Bay may be second in the entire NHL in goals scored per game (3.42), they are 26th in the league with goals allowed (3.08).

That's part of the reason why Cedrick Desjardins starts tonight. Someone has to stop the pucks, even if the flaws in the system are keeping goalies at a disadvantage.

Adam hall, Brendan Mikkelson and Marc-Andre Bergeron are to be scratched.

One last note: Cassie will be joining Habs360 radio on Blog Talk Radio around 2:20 PM today to talk about the Bolts and tonight's game.

Other Previews

Tampa Bay Lightning official team preview

TB Lightning 101

Full game coverage on SB Nation

Tickets -- Check Availability