Not only does the Tampa Bay Lightning play their final game north of the border, they get the opportunity to do so as spoilers when they face the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre tonight.
Montreal snapped a five-game losing streak Tuesday night when they defeated the Atlanta Thrashers and the win left them holding on precariously to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens (37-27-9) are in eighth place in the Conference, just two points ahead of the Florida Panthers.
The Lightning have been tough on Montreal all season, earning at least a point in each game between these two teams this season and going 1-0-0 against them in the Bell Centre.
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay’s leading scorer with 74 points, has been particularly effective when playing Montreal this season, compiling three goals and five points in three games against the Canadiens. St. Louis is currently riding a team-season high nine-game point streak that included an overtime game winner Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Defenseman Matt Lashoff, acquired from Boston at the trade deadline, has been making good use of his extended playing time of late. He has a point in three of his four games played as a member of the Lightning, including a three-game point streak.
With Lashoff and Steven Stamkos, who has a six game consecutive point streak, on the power play, Tampa Bay has converted extra man opportunities in seven consecutive games and the power play has been successful 10 of the 29 chances.
At the other end of the ice, the Canadiens are led in scoring by defenseman Andrei Markov with 58 points. Forward Andrei Kostitsyn leads the team in goals scored with 23.
Following tonight’s work in Montreal, the Lightning will leave immediately for Washington where they take on the Capitals on Friday night, before returning home to host the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.