Tampa Bay Lightning On The Brink Of Elimination


Apr 20, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper reacts from behind the bench in the last seconds of game three of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning are on the verge of elimination at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs lead the best of seven series three games to none heading into tonight’s match-up. The Bolts dropped Game 1 at home in overtime 5-4 after being out shot 44-25. While the box score would indicate it was a back-and-forth affair, the game itself felt very one-sided given that a majority of the game was played at Tampa Bay’s end of the ice. Montreal carried their momentum into Game 2, dominating the Lightning to the tune of a 4-1 victory.

The Bolts headed north across the border having lost both games on their home ice, and things did not start off well during their Game 3 trip to the Bell Centre. Rene Bourque scored 11 seconds into the game, sending an already raucous crowd into an absolute frenzy. The Lightning recovered to play a very good game the rest of the way, though a disallowed goal with less than five minutes remaining in the second period (which would’ve given the Bolts their first lead in the series since Game 1) seemed to change the tides for the worse.

Games 1 & 3 were indicative of how the regular season series played out between these two clubs–the Lightning have simply found themselves with the short end of the stick. Goaltending has been an issue, as Tampa Bay has been without starting keeper Ben Bishop, who has yet to play this series due to injury. Anders Lindback is allowing 3.5 goals per game thus far in the series and the Lightning are being outshot by over 6 shots per game. Bourque has been the surprise star for Montreal, scoring 3 goals in as many games, after scoring only 9 goals during the entire regular season. In order to stay alive in the series, the Bolts will need a big game from their superstar, Steven Stamkos, who has 4 points in the series (2 goals in Game 1 loss). Stamkos briefly left Game 3 in the second period after taking a knee to the head, but was able to return to the bench in the third.

Game 4: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Montreal Canadiens (Montreal leads series 3-0)

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: Tuesday, April 22nd @ 7 p.m. EST

Line: Canadiens -180

O/U: 5

TV: NHL Network, CBC, RDS, FoxSports Florida

Live StreamNBC Sports Live Extra App.

For more content on the match-up between the Canadiens and Lightning, be sure to visit Bolts by the Bay.

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