Bolts, Habs have new looks, but same great goaltenders for matchup
While the past three games versus Tampa Bay and Montreal have shown similar results – 2-1 scores all decided in extra time – the lineup features different personnel in the clubs' fourth and final meeting.
"I went back in my notes to see who was in our lineup the last time we played them compared to now," head coach Jon Cooper said. "Our lineup is vastly different and so is there's.
That means Steven Stamkos will be appearing in his first game versus the Habs this season, while Ryan Callahan also plays them for the first time as a Bolt.
Montreal also acquired Thomas Vanek from the New York Islanders and Mike Weaver from the Florida Panthers.
"I think this is the third team we've seen Vanek play for," Cooper said.
Goaltending from Ben Bishop and Carey Price has been pivotal to both team's success this campaign.
"The reason these two teams are where they are in the standings is because of what they've gotten from their goalies this year," Cooper said.
Bishop and Price have nearly identical numbers in save percentage, with Price being off by one-hundredth of a point. They are among the top goaltenders in the league for nearly every major goaltending category.
"He's one of the best goalies in the world," Bishop said. "It's always fun to play against the best. I'm going to have to be on my game."
Price earned his 20th win of the season at the end of March and has posted at least 20 victory over his past four seasons. He's also fifth for career wins Canadiens' franchise history.
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
If Tampa Bay secures a playoff berth the next step moving forward is to earn home ice advantage.
"That becomes important when you get to Game 7," Ryan Callahan said.
"You'd rather be at home than be in their building, especially Montreal, who can be pretty hostile at home," Nate Thompson said.
To guarantee home ice advantage the Bolts will need to finish the season as the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division, which starts their playoff schedule at home versus the Atlantic Division's No. 3 seed.
Right now Montreal is in the No. 2 spot with the Bolts in the No. 3 spot, however the Lightning have one game in hand.
OTHER MATCHUPS TO WATCH
To clinch a playoff spot Tuesday night three different things need to happen:
1. The Lightning need to win in any fashion
2. The Washington Capitals need to lose in regulation
3. The New Jersey Devils need to lose in regulation/overtime/shootout
Washington hosts the Dallas Stars at Verizon Center tonight while New Jersey visits Buffalo. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Canadiens would clinch a berth if:
1. They defeat the Lightning in any fashion
2. They get one point against the Lightning AND the Capitals lose to the Stars in any fashion
3. The Capitals lose to the Stars in regulation AND the Devils lose to the Sabres in any fashion.
MORNING SKATE: LINES
OTHER ODDS 'N ENDS
- Bishop was first off the ice this morning for Tampa Bay and is expected to start tonight versus the Habs.
- Valtteri Filppula's 12-game point streak is the longest active streak in the NHL.