The Montreal Canadiens started their playoff campaign with 5-4 road victory against the Montreal Lightning on Wednesday night.
Dale Weise was left alone up front and scored the game-winner with less than five minutes to go in the first overtime period.
This game had everything a playoff game should have. There were plenty of beautiful goals and lots of bone-crushing hits from both teams. Also, the players that everyone expected to score did - for the most part.
Thomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta, Lars Eller and Thomas Vanek all scored for Montreal. Steven Stamkos did his best to keep his team in the game, scoring two goals.
Backup goaltender Andreas Linback stopped 39 shots, making several acrobatic saves throughout the game. This is a game that Carey Price would like to have back as he conceded four goals on 16 shots and looked average at best in goal for Montreal.
However, in playoff hockey all that matters is getting the win and Price did just enough to get it. Despite the average performance by Price, the Montreal players did outplay the Lightning all game long.
Montreal outshot the Lightning 35-16 in this game. However, I’m sure both coaches will be disgusted at the amount of turnovers that occurred during the game. Brandon Prust and PK Subban were both guilty of coughing up the puck and costing their team a goal. Mike Weaver also got caught too far up the ice and cost his team a goal.
Even though the Lightning lost the first game, there are plenty of positives for Steve Yzerman and the fans to take away. First of all, the younger players on the team were able to contribute through goals from Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn.
Andreas Linback proved he can withstand the pressure of having to step in for the injured Ben Bishop and the team did a fairly decent job covering Subban and limiting his chances.
But in the end, it’s Montreal who won the first game of the series.
If the Lightning do not win game two, this could be a very short series. This can only be accomplished if the Lightning players get more shots on Price throughout the game.
They were very fortunate to score as many goals as they did in my opinion. The Canadiens need to tighten up defensively if they hope to win game two and take a two-game series lead. If they can continue limiting Ondreaj Palat and Steven Stamkos’ chances, they’ll have that opportunity.
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