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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Playoff Preview: Canadiens vs Lightning (Round 1, Game 3)

HabsBolts_Playoffs 
Match Up:

The Canadiens return to Montreal with a 2-0 series lead over the Lightning after a pair convincing victories in Tampa Bay. Game 3 goes Sunday night at 7:00 and airs on CBC and RDS.

The Habs scored 4 straight goals before Teddy Purcell added a late power play marker to spoil Carey Price's shutout bid. Rene Bourque scored a pair for the Canadiens, including the game winner. The Canadiens also ended their power play drought going 1-for-4 on the man advantage.

What to Watch:

The line of Lars Eller, Brian Gionta and Rene Bourque have combined four 4 of Montreal's 9 goals in this series, including a shorthanded marker by the captain. Eller leads the Habs with 3 points in the playoffs. David Desharnais got his first career playoff goal and Max Pacioretty earned his first playoff point in Friday's game.

Tampa's coach, John Cooper, will have a tough decision to make as far as his starting goalie for Game 3 is concerned. Anders Lindback was pulled after allowing 3 goals on 23 shots in Game 2, while his replacement Kristers Gudlevskis gave up a goal on one of 3 shots faced in relief.

What's at Stake:

The Canadiens can put a stranglehold on the Lightning Sunday night, with a chance to take a 3-0 series lead. The Lightning are essentially fighting for their playoff lives after losing both of their opening home games.

Who's Out:

The Canadiens are still missing Alex Galchenyuk (knee) but Travis Moen (concussion) could be ready to play on Sunday if called upon.

Ondrej Palat (upper body) missed Game 2 for Tampa and is day-to-day. Ben Bishop (elbow) is still about a week away from a return.

What Else:

The Canadiens will try to erase the memory of their last 2-0 series lead, one they couldn't capitalize on against the eventual Cup-winning Bruins in 2011. After taking a 2-0 series lead in Boston, the Habs lost the next 3 games, including a back-and-forth Game 4 that saw the Canadiens blow 3-1 and 4-3 leads before eventually losing 5-4 in overtime.

The Question Mark:

Which other series are you enjoying most?

Let us know what you think, leave us a comment or send us a tweet with the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

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