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Posted On Sunday, 04.20.2014 / 1:42 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Palat remains a game-time decision for Lightning

MONTREAL -- Tampa Bay Lightning rookie forward Ondrej Palat skated for a second straight day Sunday but remains a game-time decision for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET: NBCSN, CBC, RDS, SUN).

"We have a lot of guys available to play," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "There will be 20 guys come seven o'clock that are going to be ready to play. He might or might not be one of those guys. I hope he's going to be one of those guys."

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Posted On Friday, 04.18.2014 / 7:14 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Lightning without Palat in Game 2 against Canadiens

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper dressed defenseman Andrej Sustr to take the lineup spot of injured forward Ondrej Palat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, RDS, FS-F).

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Posted On Thursday, 04.17.2014 / 7:46 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

'Marcarena' a big hit after Canadiens' OT win

TAMPA -- The most popular video highlight of the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 overtime win in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning is not the Dale Weise goal that decided it.

It is not a goal at all, nor a save, nor a big hit.

The most popular video documentation of that game, based on how viral it went on social media following the game Wednesday night, would have to be Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin celebrating his team's victory.

The move was quickly dubbed the "Marcarena" on Twitter.


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Posted On Thursday, 04.17.2014 / 3:30 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Lightning's Palat game-time call; Bishop not close yet

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ondrej Palat will be a game-time decision for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens, coach Jon Cooper said Thursday.

Palat left the Lightning's 5-4 overtime loss in Game 1 after playing the first shift of the third period with an upper-body injury.

Game 2 of the series is set for Friday at Tampa Bay Times Forum (7 pm ET; CNBC, CBC, RDS).

"I don't know," Cooper said when asked how Palat was doing. "I guess we'll call him day-to-day, but then again aren't we all?"

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 2:16 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Canadiens welcome back valuable forward Prust

TAMPA -- The Montreal Canadiens will welcome forward Brandon Prust back into the lineup Wednesday for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, RDS) at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Prust missed the final 12 games of the regular season with an upper-body injury and played four of the Canadiens' 23 games since the return from the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but there was no way he would miss the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"It's a brand new season," Prust said. "Everything's stepped up a notch. I'm not really sure what happens, but something goes in the brain and everybody's just ramped up. It's an all-out war."

Prust's skill set is perhaps most valuable around this time of year when the level of competition gets higher. One player on the Lightning who knows very well what Prust can bring in a playoff series is Ryan Callahan, his former teammate on the New York Rangers.

"He's a great competitor," Callahan said. "I played with him for a couple of years and he's one of those guys that you don't like to play against but you love having on your team. I've got a lot of respect for the way he plays and I'm excited to go up against him."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 2:08 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Bishop skates, but Lightning rule him out for Game 1

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will begin their first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three years without their starting goaltender.

Ben Bishop skated on his own Wednesday but was ruled out for Game 1 of the Lightning's Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m.; CBC, RDS, CNBC).

When asked who his starting goaltender would be, Lightning coach Jon Cooper said simply, "Not Ben Bishop."

Though Cooper wouldn't confirm it, Anders Lindback will get his third start in four games since Bishop was lost to an upper-body injury against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 8. Lindback was perfect in 54 minutes of relief in that game and overall stopped 77 of 79 shots for a .975 save percentage since Bishop's injury.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.15.2014 / 5:44 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Playoff hero Briere to start on Canadiens' fourth line

When Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin signed center Daniel Briere to a two-year, $8 million free-agent contract in July, one of the first arguments he made in favor of the move was Briere's tremendous history of being a peak performer in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Briere is one of the top playoff players ever, his 1.01 points per game average in the postseason ranking him 44th all-time, according to hockey-reference.com. It is a significantly higher number than his average of 0.75 points per game over his 916 career regular-season games.

If Briere knows why this is the case, he's not sharing it.

"I wish I knew," Briere said. "I wish I had a clear explanation other than wanting to be the difference-maker every night. I don't really know how to explain it."

Briere has not been one of coach Michel Therrien's most trusted players, spending time on each of the four forward lines at various points of the season, and currently slated to begin the playoffs on the Canadiens' fourth line with Michael Bournival and Dale Weise. Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning is scheduled for Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS) at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 5:42 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canadiens closing in on home ice for first round

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens can clinch home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as early as Thursday as long as they get a point at home against the New York Islanders.

The Canadiens have a three-point lead in the Atlantic Division standings on their first-round opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who play at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. If Montreal ends the night with a four-point lead on Tampa Bay, it will guarantee Game 1 of the series will be played at Bell Centre.

The Canadiens will have to attempt to clinch that privilege Thursday without the services of forward Alex Galchenyuk, who left a 3-2 overtime road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday in the first period with a lower-body injury. George Parros will take his place in the lineup.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 1:32 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings look to solidify playoff spot vs. Canadiens

MONTREAL -- When the Detroit Red Wings hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 18, the Red Wings' streak of 22 straight appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs was in jeopardy.

A few weeks earlier, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock returned from leading Canada to the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and defiantly stated Detroit was not going to let the streak be snapped.

"We got to find a way to get in," he said prior to the resumption of the NHL schedule after the Olympic break. "That's what we're going to do."

On March 18, the Red Wings were three points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and had won two of their previous seven games.

Babcock's words looked to be rather hollow.

But the Red Wings defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2, starting a run of seven wins in 10 games (7-2-1) that they ride into a game against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, where a fifth straight victory would likely cement that playoff streak being extended by another season.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 1:24 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canadiens, Lightning set for likely playoff preview

TAMPA -- The winner of the game between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday could clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and until that is done neither team is focused on what is coming in a couple of weeks.

Both teams know that barring an extraordinary turn of events they will be facing each other in the first round of the playoffs, giving their game Tuesday added meaning.

"I'm fairly certain that each team can sit here and say, 'Oh, we're not worried, we're only worried about making the playoffs,' but let's be honest," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Both of these teams know exactly where we sit, how close we are to each other and potentially what can happen and what can happen here in a couple of weeks. So there is a lot on the line.

"I'm certain this will have a different feel that your run-of-the-mill one of 82."

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Quote of the Day

There was a lot of talk off the ice. From a player's standpoint, that's not the talk in the room. GMs make decisions, coaches make decisions, but as a team you have to come together and be ready to go, and we are.

— San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels on his team's approach entering training camp