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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, April 20th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (0-2) at Montreal Canadiens (2-0), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - After failing to win in the first two games on home ice, the Tampa Bay Lightning will try to dig themselves out of a hole on the road.
Down 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Lightning will try to pick up their first win of the series Sunday in Game 3 at the Bell Centre.
Montreal claimed Game 1 at Tampa in overtime on Wednesday, earning a 5-4 victory after Dale Weise's OT tally. Friday's win, however, came much easier for the Canadiens, who notched a 4-1 decision to carry a 2-0 lead in the series back to Montreal.
Rene Bourque scored twice for the Habs in Game 2 and Carey Price stopped 26- of-27 shots to anchor the Canadiens in the comfortable victory. David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher also scored while P.K. Subban supplied two assists to the winning effort.
Despite holding a 2-0 lead before entering a home stretch in Games 3 and 4, Bourque warned against overconfidence.
"That's probably going to be their biggest game of the series," said Bourque of tonight's battle. "They're going to come out hard and we're going to have to match their intensity."
Friday's three-goal margin of victory was rare for a meeting between the Habs and Bolts. Including Game 1 of the playoffs, the clubs have gone past regulation in four of six encounters since the start of the 2013-14 regular season.
Teddy Purcell scored the lone goal for Tampa in the Game 2 loss, while starting goaltender Anders Lindback was pulled midway through the third period after allowing three goals on 23 shots. Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 2-of-3 shots the rest of the way.
"You focus on Game 3. That's all you can control," said Lightning forward Ryan Callahan after the clubs poor start at home. "These two are behind us. You go win Game 3, it's a brand-new series. ... The odds are against us but we have to go in there and show our character."
Tampa Bay has fared well in Montreal this season, posting a pair of close wins at the Bell Centre in 2013-14. The Bolts earned a 2-1 shootout win on Nov. 12 and won by the same score in overtime on Feb. 1.
All told, Montreal was 23-13-5 as the home team during the regular season, while the Lightning were 21-17-3 on the road. Game 4 is scheduled for Tuesday at the Bell Centre.
With No. 1 goaltender Ben Bishop still out with an upper-body injury, it's uncertain if Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper will go with Lindback or Gudlevskis as the starter in Game 3.
Gudlevskis made his first NHL start late in the regular season and the 21- year-old Latvian entered his first playoff game on Friday. However, the young goaltender is no stranger to performing at a high level on the big stage, as Gudlevskis showed when he came up with 55 saves in Latvia's 2-1 loss to Team Canada in the quarterfinals of February's Sochi Olympics.
Tampa Bay could get rookie forward Ondrej Palat back in the lineup Sunday after he missed Game 2 with an upper-body injury. The Calder Trophy candidate expects to be a game-time decision for tonight's contest.
This is the second time the Canadiens and Lightning are meeting in the postseason, with the Tampa sweeping Montreal in four games in the Eastern Conference semifinals during its 2004 Stanley Cup championship season.
04/20 10:33:30 ET