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Canadiens aim for 2-0 lead going back to Montreal

by Brian Hunter


(Montreal leads best-of-7 series, 1-0)


Big story: Each team rallied twice from one-goal deficits before the Montreal Canadiens edged the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 in the opener of their Eastern Conference First Round series on a goal by fourth-line forward Dale Weise with 1:52 left in the first overtime. The Canadiens have already tilted home ice in their favor, making this a critical game for the Lightning to avoid going down 2-0 before the series shifts to Bell Centre on Sunday.

Team Scope:

Canadiens: In spite of generating 44 shots and five goals in the series opener, Montreal came up empty on three power-play chances. The final one came with 2:01 left in regulation and gave the Canadiens a chance to avoid going to overtime if they could score on the power play. During a 30-minute practice Thursday, the players spent 20 minutes working on the power play, which tied for 19th in the regular season at 17.2 percent.

Although goalie Carey Price allowed four goals on 25 shots in Game 1, he was 9-for-9 in overtime to set up Weise's heroics. The primary assist on the goal went to veteran forward Daniel Briere, who played nearly 19 minutes and picked up his 110th career playoff point in 109 games.

"You need contributions from everyone if you want to have success in the playoffs," coach Michel Therrien said Thursday.

Lightning: It was a mixed bag for Tampa Bay goaltender Anders Lindback in his first playoff start. Despite giving up five goals, he was under pressure all night and stopped 39 shots, including the first eight he saw in the extra period before the Weise goal.

Still, the talk will continue about when No. 1 Ben Bishop might be able to return from an upper-body injury that sidelined him late in the season. Bishop was on the ice in full gear Thursday and worked with goalie coach Frantz Jean on his mobility, but he didn't face shots. Coach Jon Cooper later told reporters not to expect to see Bishop "any time soon."

The Lightning hope that's not the case with rookie forward Ondrej Palat, who entered the playoffs on a five-game point streak but had missed the final regular season game with an upper-body injury which he apparently re-aggravated in Game 1. Palat left after playing one shift in the third period.

"He's been a part of some really physical hits last few games. In all seriousness, he'll be a game-time decision," Cooper said.

Who's hot: Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek had a goal and a game-high seven shots in his first playoff game in three years. Forwards Lars Eller and Brian Gionta had a goal and an assist each. … Lightning forward Steven Stamkos also played his first postseason game in three years and had his second career two-goal game. Forward Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist in his playoff debut.

Injury report: Montreal forward Travis Moen (concussion) is progressing, but won't be ready for Game 2. … Bishop (upper body) remains sidelined, while Palat is "probably out," according to Cooper.

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