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Posted On Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 1:49 PM

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

Lightning's Salo practices, possibility for Game 4

MONTREAL -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo practiced Tuesday morning and could return to the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens (7 pm ET; NHLN-US, CBC, RDS, FS-F).

Salo missed a 3-2 Lightning loss in Game 3 on Sunday with an upper-body injury, but he was paired with scratched defenseman Keith Aulie at the morning skate, so it's possible Salo is out for Game 4.

Otherwise, neither the Lightning nor the Canadiens are expected to make lineup changes.

The Canadiens held an optional skate Tuesday with 13 skaters and backup goalie Peter Budaj taking part.

Here are the projected lineups:

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 12:18 PM

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

Lightning's Bishop takes shots, Cooper encouraged

MONTREAL -- Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop was on the ice Tuesday morning and took a few shots as he continues his recovery from an upper-body injury that has sidelined him since April 8.

However, coach Jon Cooper ruled out any possibility of Bishop making a miraculous recovery to start Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, CBC, RDS, FS-F).

"No chance," Cooper said. "But it's encouraging to watch what's happening."

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Posted On Sunday, 04.20.2014 / 6:53 PM

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

Lightning's Palat returns for Game 3

MONTREAL -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper made four lineup changes for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, including the return of forward Ondrej Palat.

Defensemen Sami Salo and Michael Kostka and forwards Nikita Kucherov and Richard Panik were scratched to make room for Palat, B.J. Crombeen, Tom Pyatt and Mark Barberio.

Salo took part in the morning skate Sunday, but the Lightning said he will miss the game with an upper-body injury.


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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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I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic