Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Playoff Preview: Canadiens vs Lightning (Round 1, Game 4)

Match Up:

The Canadiens take to Bell Centre ice on Tuesday, looking to close out the first round series against the Lightning in front of their faithful. The game starts at 7:00 and airs on RDS and CBC.

The Habs have gone 3-for-3 so far this series and have the first opportunity to eliminate a team from the 2014 playoffs. The Lightning can take solace in the fact 2 of the 3 games could have gone either way, they lost Game 1 in overtime and dropped Game 3 by a goal after a controversial disallowed marker.

What to Watch:

Rene Bourque is on a tear, opening the scoring Sunday with a goal 11 seconds into the game. He finished the night with 8 shots and leads the team with 15 through 3 games. Brendan Gallagher and Lars Eller each have points in all 3 playoff games for the Habs. Eller's point streak stretches back to the regular season, he has 7 points in his last 5 games.

Steven Stamkos is up to 4 points in the playoffs after assisting on both Tampa Bay goals Sunday Night. Despite recording 3 straight losses, the play of Anders Lindback has improved during the playoffs. Lindback made 28 saves in Sunday's 3-2 loss and did what he could to keep his team in the game despite a handful of top-quality scoring chances for Montreal.

What's at Stake:

The Canadiens have a chance to close out this series and move on to the second round for the first time since 2010. A win on Tuesday would see the Habs as the first team through to the second round in this year's playoffs, giving them plenty of all important rest and time to prepare for the winner of Boston-Detroit. A win for the Lightning would keep their playoff dreams alive and shift the series back to Tampa for Game 5.

Who's Out:

The Canadiens are missing Travis Moen (concussion) for at least one more game, but he's received the green light for contact. Alex Galchenyuk (knee) is still out for the time being.

The Lightning are missing Ben Bishop (elbow). Steven Stamkos, who missed the end of the second period in Game 3 is expected to play game 4.

What Else:

The Canadiens are looking to sweep their first playoff Series since eliminating the Buffalo Sabres in 4 en route to their last Stanley Cup in 1993. The haven't been on the verge of a sweep since that series, but they have been swept 3 times since, once by the Lightning. The Habs have gone up 3 games to none 30 other times in their history, winning Game 4 in 22 of those cases.

The Question Mark:

Which teams look most to you like Cup threats so far? Are the Habs in that mix?

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.



Unreal production from unexpected sources. Total team effort with a lot of intensity. Edge in goaltending is on the Habs side due to the Bishop injury. Truth be told, could be a different series if Bishop was healthy. But he's not and its time to sweep!!!

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