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Insider: Lightning focusing on tonight only

by Brian Breseman / Tampa Bay Lightning

Greetings from a wet and rainy Montreal as the Lightning prepare for Game 4 of its first round series against the Montreal Canadiens tonight. For the first time this year, Tampa Bay faces an actual “must win” game as it trails the best-of-seven series three games to none and must win tonight to force a Game 5 in Tampa on Thursday. 

This morning, the Lightning to a man said they must focus on this game only and not look ahead. The good news is after the first 10 minutes of the first period in Game 3, the Bolts played probably their best hockey of the series.  Tonight, they will try and carry that momentum over from the drop of the puck.

It appears the line-up will not change from last game. That means Sami Salo, who missed Game 3 with an upper body injury, will once again be out.  Anders Lindback came off the ice first and it looks as though he’ll get the start. No surprise there. Lindback played very well last game and gave the Lightning the chance to come back.

Other big news from this morning was that Ben Bishop skated with the team for the first time since suffering the upper body injury. Jon Cooper did confirm that there is no chance of him playing tonight, although he didn’t rule him out if Tampa Bay is able to extend the series. Bishop said he felt good and that it was a big boost for him to be back on the ice with his teammates.

The Lightning will stay in Montreal tonight and fly back to Tampa tomorrow.  The thought there is to let the players get a good night of sleep instead of flying home after the game and not getting in until the early hours of the morning.   

TV: Sun Sports
Radio: AM 970 WFLA

For the Fans – Cooper told the media today that the players want to win tonight to make sure the home fans get another game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. If the Lightning wins tonight, Game 5 would be Thursday. 

Power Up – In two of the three games in the series to date, the Canadiens have had more power plays than the Lightning. Power plays were even at two in Game 1 but Montreal has had nine man advantages to Tampa Bay’s four in the two games since. Lucky for the Bolts, their PK units have been good, allowing just one power play goal.

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