Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens Preview and Game Day Thread

The Bolts head out on the road looking to pick up some more points

Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens: GAME #72

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Centre Bell

Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, TSN2, RDS, HULU, ESPN+

Opponent SBNation Site: Eyes on the Prize


The mission is pretty simple for the Lightning tonight - collect two points. While it won’t do much to change their overall position in the standings, winning in Montreal, against a Canadiens team that is still scuffling along, is an important step to staying on the right path as they build up to the playoffs. They are down to 11 games to show their coaching staff (and fans) that they are ready to defend their Eastern Conference title and make it back to the Stanley Cup Final for the fourth consecutive season.

After a solid start against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, the wheels came off of the Camaro shortly after Alex Killorn scored to make it 2-0. Following the game Coach Cooper talked about how the Devils were pressing right before Killorn increased the lead, and that goal should have buoyed the Lightning’s play. Instead it had the opposite effect and the Bolts slid back into their bad habit of turning pucks over which a stubborn and fast-skating New Jersey squad took full advantage of down the stretch.

Now the Lightning have to bounce back and avoid getting caught in another quagmire of losses like the they did a few weeks ago. One loss is just a blip on the radar of an 82-game season. Compounding that loss with another one to a team that they should beat turns that blip into a blemish. With their busy schedule the Lightning don’t have the luxury of ironing out issues in practice so they have to come ready to do it during games.

The Canadiens may be more concerned with next year than this one, but head coach Marty St. Louis isn’t going to let them just go out there and give up a loss. He demonstrated over the weekend that he is trying to install a winning culture, no matter what their record currently is, as he benched Jonathan Drouin for an entire game after the former Bolt missed an entire practice. Remember that the early bulk of St. Louis’ career came with John Tortorella behind the bench. No matter your feelings on his coaching style, accountability and being ready to play no matter the circumstances are two pillars of Tort’s philosophy, something that St. Louis learned through first hand experience.

Drouin, for his part, accepted the punishment in the manner it was handed out. He understood that there were consequences for breaking a team rule, no matter if it was just by a few minutes. He should be back in the line-up and motivated to play against his former club.

As for the Lightning, Coach Cooper continues to juggle the bottom six, with Corey Perry and Pat Maroon having been scratched for the last two games. He likely has a game plan for how to use his forwards down the stretch and while he won’t cop to resting them prior to the playoffs (his reason was that he was looking for lines to gel so that they can win games) it is a nice benefit for a couple of players that are over 35-years-old.

This will be a big road trip for the Bolts as they start with two non-playoff teams in Montreal and Ottawa before closing it out against two of the best teams in the league in Boston and Carolina. They can’t be caught looking ahead to those match-ups. Instead, they should be focusing on executing their game plan and limiting their mistakes so that they can bank two more points.

Comparison chart:

Lightning at Canadiens Comparison

Game #72Tampa Bay LightningMontreal Canadiens
Overall Record42-23-627-37-6
Home Record25-7-514-17-3
Road Record17-16-113-20-3
Goals For245194
Goals Against216260

Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Ross Colton - Steven Stamkos - Nick Paul

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tanner Jeannot

Michael Eyssimont - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian

Ian Cole - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Darren Raddysh


Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Montreal Canadiens Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Rafael Harvey-Pinard - Nick Suzuki - Jesse Ylonen

Rem Pitlick - Alex Belzile - Mike Hoffman

Denis Gurianov - Chris Tierney - Josh Anderson

Jonathan Drouin - Anthony Ricard - Michael Pezzetta

Defense Pairings

Michael Matheson - David Savard

Joel Edmundson - Justin Barron

Johnathan Kovacevic - Chris Wideman


Jake Allen

Samuel Montembeault