Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 PM -- NBCSN, SN, TVA
Once upon a time, Tampa was 3-0 in the series. Now, Tampa is 3-2, and even though a number of Bolts players (including future Leafs C Steven Stamkos) have said things like "Yeah, we're still happy to be up one in the series and nobody ever thought it would be easy to win game four," um. WIN GAME FOUR. No really, win game four. Wiiiiin game foooour. END IT. END THE HABS. PLEASE! I want to eat, sleep, think, and work again.
I know I have to be fair to the Habs fans on this site, so here are some very heartening words from Eyes on the Prize (or Eyes on the Price, as I call it above). HEOTP's writers seem to think that it's a matter of sticking to their system and getting a few more lucky bounces. Could be, yep, yep. Bolts were great in game 1, and totally Tyler Johnson'd games 2 and 3. But when is it PDO and when is it one tiny player strapping the team on their back from sheer determination? Anyway, on to Berkshire's words:
Needing some luck may be even more cliche to say, but when you look at the scoring chances, and the amount of times the Habs have been hitting the post, it holds true. If a few of those post shots bounce a little differently off the iron in game five, it may not have taken a bar down winner from P.A. Parenteau in the third, it could have been a blowout. If those bounces start going the Habs' way, look out. (HEOTP)
The wise writers at HEOTP say that the other thing to be careful of is the propensity of people like Tyler Johnson and Ben Bishop to dive and embellish:
On that note, good discipline will be crucial. The embellishment attempts from the likes Ben Bishop and Tyler Johnson have been quite frustrating, but the Habs players need to avoid getting drawn into anything and giving Tampa powerplays. Even-strength has been where the Habs excel in this series, so keeping the game there will be key.
Examples of this embellishment are plentiful. I mean, look at Bishop, diving after this check to the back by his BFF and frequent playmate, Brandon Prust:
Hm, I appeared to have totally strayed from the point. If you want to read better, more even-handed coverage, please go read this totally unbiased article by Pierre "impartiality is my middle name" LeBrun entitled "It's never smart to bet against Canadiens' Carey Price," or maybe this piece, entitled "Unified Canadiens not going quietly against the Lightning". (I especially love how in the video that accompanies this article, they turn the puck into a glowing ball of magic light when some Hab sends it to the back of the net.)
As far as the Lightning goes, we're out one first-line right winger named Ryan Callahan. Someone tweeted me last night with, "Welp, I guess the Rangers won the trade." Friendly chirping aside, John Fontana from Raw Charge thinks the Bolts should make a bloody mess of the ice:
The Lightning know how to shoot, how to score, how to win, but they've played a style of game that's been holding a straight line with only blips of offensive rhetoric at any given time. This is a long way from the frenzied, blood-in-the-water, swarming type of game the Bolts can churn up in the opponent's zone. It comes off as a departure from Tampa Bay Lightning hockey in general. (RC)
So basically if the Habs need to stick to their way of playing, the Bolts need to return to theirs. With a few days off and a healthy first line (one hopes), will the Bolts be able to find their offensive zone?
I don't know. This Bolts team has streaks of immaturity still, where our sophomore D do things like screen their own goaltender and give up the puck out of the noble desire to make it more fair for the other team to score, I guess. Maybe a round-two exit is what the team needs to make better decisions, or for Yzerman to stare long and hard at the D-corps and figure out what we need to play the hard-forechecking system that he so loves. Maybe this is as good as we get, this year, despite the streaks of promise and Tyler Johnson.
But that's just me being pessimistic. Still.
If there's a Game 7, SO HELP ME, I...I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'LL DO.
Okay, I have a decent idea of what I'll do.
Here's hoping for a sober rest of the week!