Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) – Nikita Kucherov scored 2:06 into the second
overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens
in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Tampa was working the puck in the Montreal end and Valtteri Filppula was able
to grab it along the left boards before whipping the puck to the slot.
Kucherov grabbed the disc and quickly snapped a shot in to end the game and
give the Lightning the series lead.
Tyler Johnson had the other goal and Ben Bishop made 43 saves for the
Lightning, who defeated the Red Wings in seven games in the opening round.
“Clearly, (Bishop) was on tonight,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.
Max Pacioretty scored the only goal of the game for the Canadiens, who
dispatched the Senators in six games in the first round. Carey Price stopped
33 shots in the loss.
“I thought we played a pretty solid game tonight and deserved a better fate,”
Game 2 of this best-of-seven series is scheduled for Sunday in Montreal.
Montreal nearly got on the board two minutes in as David Desharnais had a
chance, but he rang his shot off the post.
Bishop kept the game scoreless with just under eight minutes to play in the
first as he made a nice save on a Torrey Mitchell chance.
Montreal was awarded a power play later in the first, and during a scrum in
front Bishop was able to kick the puck out just as it was about to go over the
goal line. A quick review determined he kept the puck out.
The Canadiens continued to pepper Bishop in the second, as they outshot the
With 2 1/2 minutes to play in the second, Bishop made a highlight reel stop as
the Habs perfectly executed a 2-on-1. Tomas Plekanec got off a point-blank
shot from the right side, but Bishop slid over and swallowed it with the glove
and the game went into the third scoreless.
Tampa was the first team to break onto the board, as Matt Carle blasted a shot
from the left point that Johnson redirected in for his seventh of the playoffs
The Canadiens, though, were able to tie the game with 5:13 left in regulation
after Pacioretty snapped a heavy wrister on the fly from the left wing that
Bishop tried to glove, but he couldn’t make the catch and the puck dropped
into the net.
Tampa nearly won the game three minutes into the first overtime as the puck
got behind the defense and Kucherov deked to the forehand before getting a
shot off that Price made a right pad save on. The puck wound up in the net,
but officials ruled that Kucherov had pushed Price and the puck in and the
goal was waived off.
Bishop made a tough stop on a Jacob De La Rose left wing shot during a 2-on-1
break with just over nine minutes to play in the first overtime.
Tampa was 0-for-4 on the power play, while Montreal went 0-for-3 … This is
the third playoff meeting between these clubs. The Lightning swept the
Canadiens in the 2004 conference semifinals, while the Canadiens returned the
favor in the opening round last spring … Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban led
all skaters in ice time at 37:53 … Tampa dominated the regular season series
with Montreal, winning all five games and outscoring the Habs, 21-8.