Ways the Canadiens can lock up a playoff spot tonight:
- With a win over the Lightning
- With an overtime point against the Lightning AND if the Capitals lose against the Stars
- If the Capitals lose against the Stars in regulation time AND if the Devils lose to the Sabres
- The Canadiens skated at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Lightning.
- The Habs will go in search of a season-high sixth-consecutive victory when they go up against Tampa Bay. If Michel Therrien’s troops keep that winning streak going, they’ll clinch a postseason berth in a building that will likely be inundated with Canadiens fans making their way to the Sunshine State to support their team.
“Given that this could be a playoff preview tonight, this is a game that everyone’s been waiting for. We’re two teams that play similar styles of hockey. They’ve got good depth, a good goaltender and also a lot of speed,” explained defenseman Francis Bouillon. “It’s important for us to go out there and win this one to earn a playoff spot. It’s an important game and we definitely want to win it.”
- If Tuesday night’s game has a playoff feel, it’s likely because the Canadiens and Lightning would do battle in the opening round of the playoffs if the postseason began today. While Michel Therrien has repeated time and time again that he’d like to take things one game at a time and not focus on the future, the Canadiens bench boss is well-aware of all of the hype surrounding the game against Tampa Bay.
“All games are big games in the NHL, but we understand that tonight could be a different game because the chances that we’ll play the Lightning in the playoffs are high. But, we’re focused on playing our game the right way and having a good work ethic,” admitted Therrien. “That’s what we’ve been doing since the start of the year. We don’t want to look too far ahead, but we understand what’s at stake in tonight’s game.”
- After missing practice on Monday because he’d returned to Montreal for family reasons, Alexei Emelin was back on the ice with his teammates in Tampa Bay on Tuesday. The imposing rearguard will be in the lineup against the Lightning. That means that Jarred Tinordi will be a healthy scratch for a second consecutive game.
- For the fourth time this season, Carey Price and Ben Bishop will do battle in goal. Price will be making his 56th start of the year on Tuesday night. He holds a 10-6-4 record and a 2.34 GAA in 20 appearances against the Lightning.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST
Projected lineup vs. Tampa Bay
Words From The Room - April 1
Game preview: MTL @ TBL
Taking his time