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What a great pass by DD for Vaneks goal, all Vanek had to do was get a stick on the puck and it was in the net.
DD is becoming one of the NHLs best kept secret and the Habs best playmakers. He is also a big reson for Pacioretty and Vaneks success.
Plekanac reminds me of Parice Bergeron, a very good two way player and seems to always scores big goals.
Plekanec has been our best shutdown player and penalty killer all year.
Such as whne Gio scored the OT winner against NYR final game.

 On Good Friday, the Habs will try to extend their series lead against the Lightning in Tampa Bay.

The opening game of the series had its share of gripping moments. In the end, the outcome was as good as it gets for the Canadiens' faithful. Dale Weise scored on a one-timer at 18:08 of the first overtime period to break a 4-4 tie. The goal was the Winnipeg native’s first career postseason tally and capped off an impressive performance from the Canadiens’ offensive units, which generated 44 shots to the Lightning’s 25.

Tampa struck first midway through the first period when Nikita Kucherov used a quick release to beat Carey Price between the pads. A scant nineteen seconds later, however, Tomas Plekanec evened the score by putting a wrist shot through Anders Lindback and just under the crossbar. Steven Stamkos restored the home team lead in the second period, but Lars Eller sprung Brian Gionta on a shorthanded breakaway and the captain buried his own rebound to shock the crowd. Both teams traded goals thereafter, with Lars Eller, Alex Killorn, Thomas Vanek and Steven Stamkos scoring in succession before the third period ran out.

Carey Price had a challenging start to the series. For most of the game, he stood by as his team was busy peppering the opposition with scoring chances. Tampa’s chances were few and far between, but dangerous when they did present themselves. After allowing four goals on the first 14 shots faced, Price held down the fort in key moments, making 11 consecutive saves before Weise ended the game in extra time.

Three Habs blueliners (Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban and Alexei Emelin) logged over 30 minutes in ice time. Leaders in shots on net were Thomas Vanek (7) and David Desharnais (6); four other players had four shots on goal apiece.

The Lightning may have to play Game 2 without Ondrej Palat. The dynamic forward left Wednesday’s game with an apparent injury and did not return. His place at the left of Steven Stamkos will likely be filled by Alex Killorn.

Puck drop will be at 7:00PM E.S.T. From Habs web site

Got this off HABS WEB SITE 

Good Friday: While many people will be off work on Friday, the Canadiens will contest Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series against the Lightning. It will mark the sixth time in NHL history that the bleu-blanc-rouge will kick off the Easter break by hitting the ice for a playoff tilt. The Habs boast a stellar 3-0-2 record on Good Friday, with both of the aforementioned losses coming in overtime. While you might not recall the events of Good Friday in 1931 or 1954, what took place on April 20, 1984 between the Canadiens and Nordiques will always remain an integral part of team history. The Canadiens bested their provincial rivals 5-3 in a game in which 198 penalty minutes were handed out. We might not yet know what Good Friday 2014 has in store for the Canadiens and Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, but we suspect that the referees won’t be anywhere nearly as busy as they were when the Habs and Nordiques clashed back in April 1984.

On a hot streak: Since the best-of-seven style playoff format was installed for the duration of the playoffs back in 1987, the Canadiens have won the first game of any given series 18 times. More importantly, the momentum they accrued from that first win carried over to Game 2 where they hold an impressive 13-5 record. That being said, if past results hold true, the chances that the Habs will return home with two games in hand over the Lightning are rather strong. Interestingly enough, the Canadiens’ overall playoff record when they win the first game of a series stands at 13 victories as well.

Shoot, shoot, shoot: Though the score was as close as it gets, the Habs ran the show offensively in Game 1, directing the puck toward the Lightning net on 74 occasions compared to 52 attempts against.  Excluding the pucks which were blocked or which missed the net, the Habs still finished the night with a dominating 44-25 lead in shots on goal. All in all, the Canadiens’ puck possession ratios in Game 1 were on par with the regular season figures of league powerhouses such as the Boston Bruins, the Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Standing tall: Do the four goals the Lightning scored in Game 1 offer cause for concern? Looking back at Carey Price’s body of work throughout the regular season, the unequivocal answer is no. The netminder posted a save percentage of .840 on Wednesday, only the 19th time in 60 starts in 2013-14 when he has not stopped at least 90 percent of all shots faced. In the 18 previous under-90 occasions, Price has managed to bounce right back in his following outing. His expected save percentage in those games: .920.

A little overtime never hurts:  Even if the most fretful of hockey fans among you struggle to endure the stress that comes with overtime hockey during the playoffs, rest assured that it’s a good omen. When Dale Weise sent Canadiens fans worldwide into a frenzy on Wednesday night by scoring the winning goal that put Michel Therrien’s troops up 1-0 in their series with the Lightning, he lifted the bleu-blanc-rouge to an overtime win in a series-opener for the eighth time in team history. On seven previous occasions, the Canadiens went on to win their playoff series six times, including a victory over Washington in 2010.

- canadiens.com

My Habs stars of the game:

1) Brian Gionta - Gionta finished with 1 goal, 1 assist, a +1, 4 shots, in 20:36 TOI.  I felt his line had a really good game and the coach must have agreed, as Eller also finished with a goal, an assist, a +1, 2 shots, and 4 hits , in 18:24 TOI. 

2) Thomas Vanek - Vanek had a goal, a +1, and 7 shots on net in 20:04 TOI.  It wasn't only his offensive game, but when he made a mistake offensively, he hustled hard to back check in the defensive end, once saving a goal as a result.  This is the kind of effort that wins hockey games.  He's a very talented hockey player and has turned our top line into one of the most dangerous ones in the NHL.

3) Dale Weise - Weise scored the game winning goal, but more than that, he played a good game, throwing some good hits out there and hustling hard. 

Honourable Mentions:

Daniel Briere - Briere's assist on the tying goal was due to hard work.  I thought Briere hustled hard all game.

Michael Bournival - Bournival deserved a mention with his solid effort.  His efforts may not have resulted on the score sheet, and he only played 12:28 of the game, but he did win 67% of his faceoffs and I thought played a really good game.

Game Summary:

Well, the regular season is gone and we are the only Canadian team in the playoffs.  This is a whole different brand of hockey, and I love watching it.  Tampa is a speedy team so it makes for some good hockey.  Neither team was able to hold onto a lead for very long, and it was nice to be able to steal one in Tampa.  Tonight was a good effort by the entire team.

The only area of criticism I have are the faceoffs.  This has been an area of weakness on this team for years and tonight was no different, winning only 41.8% of the draws.  At one point during the second period, the announcer said we were only winning 25% up until then.  We simply have to get better in the faceoff circle, we can't keep counting on last second victories in overtime, especially against Stamkos, who is arguably the best player in the world.  Tampa will be motivated to win Friday to at least split the series, so we'll have to have another solid effort by everyone if we're going to win another game.

[admin] Senet1 aWriter It is interesting that three of the players you mentioned are three of the six small players on our team. These guys ar ...
[admin] Senet1 aWriter Avatar your stars were my stars too and your honourable mentions I targeted as well. Our faceoff % improved as the game ...

Last 10: Montreal 7-2-1; Tampa Bay 7-3-0

Season series: New division rivals this season, the Tampa Bay Lightning won three of four games against the Montreal Canadiens in the regular season and held a 7-4 advantage in points. The first three games went past regulation, with the Lightning and Canadiens each winning a shootout in the opponent's building, before Tampa Bay won 2-1 in overtime at Montreal on Feb. 1 and 3-1 at Tampa Bay Times Forum on April 1.

Big story: By winning a shootout against the Washington Capitals on the final day of the regular season, the Lightning were able to finish one point ahead of the Canadiens in the Atlantic Division and grab home ice for this Eastern Conference First Round series. That could loom large in determining who advances, as could the injury that sidelined Tampa's No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop for the end of the regular season and at least the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Anders Lindback will oppose Montreal veteran Carey Price in Game 1.

Team Scope:

Canadiens: Home ice is nice, but Montreal was equally adept at winning on the road this season, with 23 victories each at Bell Centre and away. The Canadiens will have at least one key forward back, as center Lars Eller proclaimed himself fit to play after missing three games with the flu.

Rugged forward Brandon Prust is also working his way back into game shape after missing time with an upper-body injury. Prust isn't renowned for his offensive ability, but he practiced on a line Tuesday with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher that could create some havoc against the Lightning's top line with Steven Stamkos.

"Getting Prust back into the lineup is going to be big for us. He's a guy who shows up and plays for his teammates every night. We've played well together in the past and it's a lot of fun playing with him. Hopefully we can have success together and help the team," Gallagher said. "As a team, we need to do a good job playing defensively. Stamkos is a really good player. He will get his chances and create things and it's up to us to make it tough for him."

Lightning: Losing the goalie with the fourth-most wins (37) in the NHL just days before the start of the postseason wouldn't appear to be a recipe for success, but don't expect Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper or any of his player to blink. Having survived for nearly four months while Stamkos recovered from a broken leg and finishing with the third-most points in franchise history has given the Lightning the confidence they can win regardless of who might be absent.

It helps that Lindback, who entered the League four years ago with the Nashville Predators, took advantage of his final few opportunities in the regular season and provided the Lightning with a solid last line of defense as they overtook the Canadiens for second place in the Atlantic.

"You just have a smile on your face for him," Stamkos said in the Tampa Bay Times. "We can't stress how hard he works in practice, the great teammate he is, always smiling, not only getting himself better but challenging other players by staying out there longer and making them better. He deserves everything he's getting."

Who's hot: Since returning from a lower-body injury that sidelined him coming out of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Price has won eight of 11 starts for the Canadiens with a .932 save percentage. He comes off a 41-save shutout of the New York Rangers in the regular season finale. … Lindback is 3-0-0 and has stopped 77 of 79 shots (.975 save percentage) since relieving Bishop April 8 in the Lightning's 3-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Injury report: Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk (lower body) will miss the first round. Forward Travis Moen (concussion) practiced Tuesday in a non-contact jersey and will travel with the team. Prust (upper body) is expected to be in the lineup. … Bishop (upper body) skated Wednesday but is out for at least the beginning of this series. Tampa Bay forwards Ondrej Palat (upper body) and Valtteri Filppula (lower body) practiced Tuesday and are expected to be in the lineup

Perhaps no team filled as many holes in their lineup so well at the NHL Trade Deadline as the Montreal Canadiens, and that is a big reason they will win the 25th Stanley Cup in franchise history this June.

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin acquired defenseman Mike Weaver from the Florida Panthers the day before the deadline, setting the stage for his real home run a day later with the acquisition of forward Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders.

The arrival of Vanek gives the Canadiens something they have lacked for years, a top-end first line which can score consistently and provide relief to the team's other lines by attracting the opposition's top defensive stoppers on a nightly basis.

Vanek has combined with Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais to become one of the NHL's most-potent offensive trios, and while losing Alex Galchenyuk for the duration of the first round with a lower-body injury hurts, the other lines have been rendered more effective because of how strong the top line has been.

Essentially, adding Vanek has made all the Canadiens forwards a bit better.

Though the Vanek trade is the move that has garnered the most attention, the addition of Weaver from the Panthers might have actually filled a bigger need.

The Canadiens only had one right-handed defenseman on the team prior to Weaver's arrival, P.K. Subban. As much as Subban would probably like it, coach Michel Therrien could not put him on all three defense pairings.

Enter Weaver, who has solidified the Canadiens' third pair and created a logjam around the spot to his left, thereby improving Montreal's depth. The top pair of Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin, along with Josh Gorges and Subban, will likely grab the bulk of the minutes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Therrien and assistant coach Jean-Jacques Daigneault will have no fear sending the third pair out now that Weaver is patrolling that right side and playing solid hockey.

With the group of forwards bolstered by Vanek and the defense corps benefitting from Weaver's arrival, the Canadiens may need to rely less on their biggest asset. Nonetheless, any team facing Montreal will know they will need to solve Carey Price in goal, and that is no easy task.

Price is the biggest reason the Canadiens will win the Stanley Cup, a goaltender whose mental strength was tested at the 2014 Sochi Olympics playing in tight games behind a Canadian team which barely allowed its opponents to enter the attacking zone. Price was called upon to make a number of big saves after long stretches of inaction where a goal allowed could have spelled disaster for Canada, and he didn't flinch. As a result, he and his Canadian teammates have shiny gold medals

That experience will serve him well in the playoffs, and it will ultimately lead the Canadiens to their first Stanley Cup in 21 years.

[admin] Senet1 Writer  published Eastern Conference First Round Series: Game 2 on News
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