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.
Lightning at Canadiens Comparison
|Game #72||Tampa Bay Lightning||Montreal Canadiens|
Tampa Bay Lightning Potential 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
Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian
Ian Cole - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Darren Raddysh
Montreal Canadiens Potential 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
Michael Matheson - David Savard
Joel Edmundson - Justin Barron
Johnathan Kovacevic - Chris Wideman