Lightning look to close out Canadiens in Montreal
The Tampa Bay Lightning are 5 for 5 this year in Montreal. Now they need one more road win against the Canadiens.
The Lightning had a chance to sweep the Canadiens on Thursday night, but goaltender Ben Bishop was pulled in the second period of Montreal’s 6-2 victory. Now the second-round series is headed back to Canada for Game 5 tonight (NBCSN, 7 p.m. EDT).
Tampa Bay has won each of its five games in Montreal in 2015, outscoring the Canadiens 18-8 in Bell Centre. It scored eight of the 11 goals in the first two games of the series at Montreal.
“We’ve had some success in their building and we played well there in the regular season, too,” Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said Friday. “I think we’re comfortable going in there.”
Montreal had six different goal scorers in its first win in nine games this season against Tampa Bay. It had struggled to score against the 6-foot-7 Bishop, who stopped 100 of 104 shots through the first three games of the series.
“We get as much pressure as we can on him and go to the net, score some goals, shoot a lot of pucks at him and it will pay off eventually,” center Tomas Plekanec said.
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper lifted Bishop after David Desharnais’ shot skipped off the goaltender’s glove and into the net for the 5-7 forward’s first goal of the playoffs. Bishop finished with 11 saves.
The Lightning still have a commanding 3-1 lead in the series, but a couple of the games could have gone either way. They won 2-1 in double-overtime in Game 1, and grabbed another 2-1 victory on Tyler Johnson’s goal with 1.1 seconds remaining Wednesday night.
“We have to get back to our speed game, our transition game,” Callahan said. “I think we’re at our best when we move the puck up the ice and attack the other team. There hasn’t been enough of that the last couple games.”
Cooper said he is confident his team will bounce back from the Game 4 loss.
“We have to put our best foot forward,” he said. “Both teams know each other well, we just have to execute. We are a confident group. We have proven we can rebound from disappointing games.”
The Canadiens won their first three games of the playoffs against Ottawa, and then dropped their next two before eliminating the Senators with a 2-0 victory in Game 6 on April 26.
“It’s always a comfortable lead when you’re up by three, but on the other hand you’ve got to understand momentum can change quick,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. “Momentum in hockey changes quick and breaks change quick.”
AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall and The Canadian Press contributed to this report.
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