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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 Friday, 04.18.2014 / 4:56 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Lightning's Bishop faces shots, making progress

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop faced shots Friday for the first time since sustaining an elbow injury April 8, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Bishop took shots from goaltenders coach Frantz Jean before the morning skate prior to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Times Forum (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, RDS, FS-F).

Goalie Anders Lindback will start again after losing Game 1 5-4.

"[Bishop is] progressing every day," Jean said. "The last three days have been extremely positive for him. The recuperation is going very well."

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Posted On Friday, 04.18.2014 / 1:41 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Lightning stress poise under pressure

TAMPA -- Immediately after a 5-4 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference First Round series, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he thought his team played well.

On reflection, and after viewing the film, he changed his mind.

"I just think we could have had a little bit better poise under pressure in some instances," Cooper said. "I don't think our defense was moving it fast enough and I think our forwards were not helping out our defense. Our forwards have to find a way to get back a little harder and fight their way back so we can start going up ice. We played right into Montreal's game plan."

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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 Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 1:24 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Nerves not an issue as Cooper gets Lightning ready

TAMPA -- Thursday night marks the Stanley Cup Playoff coaching debut for Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Those expecting nerves to be eating away at the young coach as Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens approaches Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, RDS) should think again.

"When you're really in this, you don't get to see what everyone else sees," Cooper said. "I think it's more calming to be in the fire than it is to be actually watching the fire. I'm going to go home, eat the same thing, and squeeze in a little nap. I'm not going to change anything, and then I'll come back here and try to beat a team we have played four times this year."

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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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Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season