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Practice Notebook: Cedric Paquette to be a game-time decision for Game 3

by Bryan Burns / Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette exited Game 2 in Montreal early in the second period after suffering an undisclosed injury late in the first.

Paquette said he felt something during his last shift of the opening period and went into the locker room to be examined.

“We couldn’t tell what it was right away,” Paquette said. “Just try one shift in the second, and I couldn’t do much on the ice.”

Paquette played just 4:36 of Game 2. He practiced on Tuesday with the rest of his Lightning teammates at Amalie Arena ahead of Game 3 and didn’t seem limited while participating in all drills. He said the day off Monday was definitely beneficial to help his body recuperate.

“I think it’s getting better,” Paquette said. “Obviously, still sore, but we’ll see tomorrow.”

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said they’ll re-evaluate Paquette’s status on Wednesday and make a decision as to whether he can play Game 3 at that point.

“We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow,” Cooper said. “He’ll be a game-timer.”

Paquette said the thought of missing a playoff game is hard to swallow.

“You never want to lose any game, but, in the playoffs, its worse I think,” he said. “If I need one or two days off, I’ll take it, but, if I’m good to go, I’ll be there.”

REVERSE SCENARIO

The Montreal Canadiens are facing the exact situation the Lightning dealt with in last season’s First Round playoff series between the two teams: down 2-0 and on the road for a critical Game 3.

The Lightning understand Montreal will be a determined team entering Amalie Arena on Wednesday because they were that determined team a year ago.

“I’d love for it to replicate and I’d love for us to score in the first 11 seconds,” Cooper said, referring to Montreal’s early Game 3 goal in 2014. “That’d be really nice. We understand their desperation level. We’re not as much worried about Montreal’s desperation level as I am ours.”

To combat Montreal’s desperation, the Lightning are approaching Game 3 as if the series is still tied.

“I don’t think anybody is really reading anything into it,” goalie Ben Bishop said. “Obviously, we’re happy with it, but we know there’s a long way to go. 2-0 means nothing. It’s first to four. However you get there, it doesn’t really matter. Whether you’re up 2-0 or down 2-0, it’s the first to four. We know they’re not going to quit over there. We know they’re a really good team.”

Bolts right winger Ryan Callahan said going on the road after losing the opening two games of a series at home can sometimes be beneficial for a team in search of its first win.

“That’s how we kind of looked at it last year with our situation,” Callahan said. “When you get on the road, it’s just you guys. It’s you versus the world or you versus this building and kind of get away from everything else. That can factor in and that can definitely help them.”

Last season, the Lightning put together their best performance of the opening round series in Game 3 but still lost 3-2 on their way to getting swept.

The Bolts would like to see a similar scenario Wednesday.

“I think that’s what we’re expecting out of them is a very desperate team,” Callahan said, “And we expect their best game tomorrow.”

SEVEN STRAIGHT

The Lightning have won seven in a row over Montreal in 2015, but they don’t want to hear about any possible psychological advantage they may have over the Canadiens.

In their mind, regular season success against the Habs means absolutely nothing when it comes to the playoffs.

“We’ve won two games in the series, so the 7-0 stat’s crap,” Boyle said. “Everyone’s talking about it. You guys can talk about it all you want. It’s over. It doesn’t have any bearing on this series. It’s 2-0 right now. We have a two-game lead in the series and we’ve got to win four games. If we’re in their heads, I don’t care. I don’t think we are. I think they’re going to refocus. But it doesn’t matter to me at all. We need to worry about ourselves, playing in Game 3, winning Game 3, regardless of what happens in Game 3. When that’s done, we focus on Game 4.”

Callahan said he expects a much different Montreal team to emerge from the tunnel for Game 3 than the one that came unglued at the end of Game 2 and drew multiple penalties, culminated by Brandon Prust running Bishop, getting into a fight with Braydon Coburn and throwing his elbow pad at the Lightning bench as he accumulated 27 penalty minutes.

“I think they’re going to be a more disciplined team,” Callahan said. “I think that was a little bit out of character.”

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