NHL Betting Preview: Montreal vs. Tampa Bay – Game Three

Steven Stamkos, Carey PriceThe Montreal Canadians will have to play their best game of the season so far, if they want to make it any further in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. Down 2-0 against Tampa Bay Lightning, the Habs will have to put their faith in Carey Price, as he has to have his mojo flowing if Montreal is to get a win past the Bolts.

Montreal Canadiens’ award winning defenseman, P.K. Subban sees the light despite the 2-0 series hole his team has dug itself into against the electric Lightning.

“Whenever you come to Florida and you get a little bit of sunshine, everyone seems to smile a little bit more,” Subban said Tuesday to local media. “We’re optimistic at this point. We’re not pessimistic, I’ll tell you that right now. We’re one win away from being back in the series.”

How easily that one little win will come is another story. The Canadiens’ are basing their confidence in their five-on-five play in the series, believing that if they can stay out of the penalty box they’re likely to have more success than they did in their previous game. But the biggest reason for them to believe that it should be easy to get back in this second-round series, is their stellar goaltender Carey Price. He’s time and time again this season carried the Habs on his shoulders and shut the door on best in the league.

“We’re one win away from being back in the series.” –  P.K. Subban

“We still have a lot of belief in our locker room and the guys that we have,” Habs defenseman Tom Gilbert told the team’s official website. “It doesn’t matter how many times they beat us throughout the regular season, Game 1 or Game 2. I think if we can just play a full 60 minutes, we’ll give ourselves a good chance to win.”

Game 2 was a tough loss though, the Canadiens, with that loss they now have dropped seven straight to the Lightning. Despite scoring the first goal in Sunday’s game, a long line of penalties at the end of the first and then throughout the second period quickly destroyed and undermined chance the Habs had at winning Game 2.

Montreal’s 138 penalty minutes rank as the second highest among playoff teams, and its inability to stay out of the box means there will be more power-play time for Steven Stamkos. He scored his first goal of this year’s playoffs with the man advantage in Game 2.

Have they learned their lesson? Habs fans hope so. Discipline will be the target for the Habs in game 3 after they allowed four goals on eight Lightning power plays in their 6-2 loss on Sunday. Meanwhile, they themselves only have one power play goal in 26 power play opportunities these playoffs.

Coach Jon Cooper is confident Lightning club will carry its solid play over to home ice despite Tampa being just 2-4 in the Amalie Arena over the last two postseasons. It dropped two at home during its seven-game win over Detroit in the first round. “I’m not as much worried about Montreal’s desperation level as I am ours,” Cooper said. “The mere fact that we’re at home means nothing in Game 3 of the playoffs. To us, the series is 0-0 and we need to treat it like that.”

“I don’t know how much home ice has been an advantage in all the playoffs so far,” said Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, who has a .961 save percentage after winning the last four. “We look forward to going home, but it’s not going to be any easier.”

This won’t be an easy win, but the calibre of play means it will be a long series. For it to go to seven, Montreal simply has to smarten up and step up to win the game tonight. They’ll have to catch some lightning in a bottle to do it.

Our Pick: Montreal gets the must win on the road