I think it is safe to say that Game 1 did not get off to the start that the Tampa Bay Lightning would have hoped for. After sixty minutes of back and forth play, the Lightning would fall to the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in the final minutes of the overtime period. Fortunately, there is no time to dwell on a loss here in the Bolts Nation. Tonight, the Lightning are back to business as they host the Montreal Canadiens in Game 2 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
There are a few things that are going to be key if the Lightning are going to get back on track and get this series back under control.
One of the most important is going to be better puck control.
There were quite a few turnovers that came at the exact wrong time, and unfortunately, the Canadiens were able to exploit the holes in the defense and find their way to the back of the net a lot more than they should have.
Another thing that the Lightning are going to need to pick the pace up on are Shots on Goal. Now, as some of you may know, I have always been a proponent of quality over quantity, but when you are outshot 44-25 through almost four complete periods of play, there is something most definitely wrong.
Now, on a positive note, the Lightning absolutely dominated the faceoff circle, overcoming the Habs 50-36. This is definitely something that they are going to want to keep going into tonight’s game.
From the looks of things at the moment, it would seem that we will have Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback between the pipes once again in tonight’s encounter. While the Bolts may not have brought home the win on Wednesday night, it certainly was not because of Lindback.
The 6’6” Swedish netminder was able to stop 39 of 44 Shots on Goal brought against him by the Canadiens, giving him a Save Percentage of .886.
Believe it or not, this is actually a higher number than Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. Price was able to put a stop to 21 of 25 Shots on Goal for a Save Percentage of .840.
The Lightning rookies seem to be doing pretty well for themselves so far. Four of the Lightning’s young stars posted points in Wednesday’s encounter. Right wing Nikita Kucherov earned himself a goal, while J.T. Brown, Cedric Paquette, and Tyler Johnson all notched an assist.
It may not have looked like it in the first three periods of play in Game 1, but the Lightning have everything they need in order to come out on top in this best of seven series. They have the skill, the desire, and the sheer will to win. All the Lightning need to do is shake off their nerves, focus on the task in front of them and play the way that we all know they can.
What do you think is going to be key to a Tampa Bay Lightning victory in Game 2? Which Montreal player does the Lightning need to keep the pressure on in Game 2? Let us know what you think in the comments below?