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Game 1 Preview: MTL @ TBL

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

Eastern Conference First Round Series : Game 1

Canadiens (0-0) vs. Lightning (0-0)

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. On Wednesday night, the second and third-placed teams of the Atlantic Division will kick off their quest for the Stanley Cup in Tampa, Florida.

Both teams have compiled fine regular season records. The Habs hit the 100 point plateau for the first time since 2007-08, finishing with exactly 100. Meanwhile, the Lightning closed out the season just above Montreal with 101 points and received home-ice advantage in the series in doing so.

Several Tampa Bay Lightning players are battling injuries. Starter Ben Bishop will miss Game 1 with an upper-body injury suffered in the last week of the regular season. Second-line center Valtteri Filppula and young star Ondrej Palat are also hurt but could suit up for Tampa on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Habs will be without Alex Galchenyuk and Travis Moen. Galchenyuk will miss the entire series due to a lower-body injury, while Moen, who is skating with the team, is looking to make a return in the near future from a concussion. Lars Eller and Brandon Prust will probably suit up tonight for the visiting team.

In the absence of Bishop, Anders Lindback will be between the pipes for Tampa Bay. The Swedish netminder is coming off three straight wins, making 77 saves on 79 shots faced. However, his career numbers of 2.90GAA and 0.897 SV% are also less-than-impressive. Across the ice, it will be Carey Price, who owns a 2.52 career goals-against average and 0.917 career save percentage. Since winning gold at the Sochi Olympics, he has stopped over 93% of all shots faced.

Players to watch for Tampa include former 60-goal man Steven Stamkos, stud defenseman Victor Hedman, and former Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, acquired in exchange for Martin St-Louis at the trade deadline. Look for Michel Therrien to counter with leading scorer Max Pacioretty, reigning Norris winner P.K. Subban and sharpshooter Thomas Vanek.

Puck drop will be at 7:00PM E.S.T.

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