CANADIENS at LIGHTNING
TV: CBC, USA, TVA Sports
Tampa Bay leads best-of-7 series 2-0
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper is more concerned about their level of desperation rather than that of the Montreal Canadiens heading into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Amalie Arena on Wednesday.
Tampa Bay was 32-8-1 at home on its way to finishing in second place in the Atlantic Division during the regular season, two points behind Montreal.
"The mere fact that we're at home, regardless of what our regular-season record is, means nothing in Game 3 of the playoffs," Cooper said. "To us, the series is 0-0; we've got to treat it like that and understand that our desperation level has to exceed what Montreal's is."
The Lightning won the first two games of the series at Bell Centre and have an opportunity to win their fifth game at home in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs; they split four games in their 4-3 series win against the Detroit Red Wings in the Eastern Conference First Round.
"It takes four games to win a series," Tampa Bay center Tyler Johnson said. "It doesn't matter if you win two or three, you have to win four. We have a good start, obviously, but really that's all that matters. There's still more games to be played and Montreal's a great team and we can't take our foot off the gas here."
Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty is ready to draw on the positives and negatives he and his teammates learned from being in a similar 2-0 hole against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final last year. Montreal won Game 3 at Madison Square Garden but lost the next game before losing the best-of-7 series in six games.
"We hope we can learn from that experience where we went down 2-0 in our building, and yeah, we made it a series, but we weren't able to come back and win the series at the end of the day," Pacioretty said. "We've got to remember that feeling and what it took to win Game 3, and what we didn't do right to win Game 4, and that experience all comes into play now when we're looking at this series as a whole. There's time to think about it [Tuesday] night, but once we wake up [Wednesday] morning it's all about worrying about that first shift and that first period and nothing else."
Defenseman P.K. Subban is confident the Canadiens can win Game 3.
"That's where our focus has got to be, and after that we'll worry about everything else, but there's no doubt in my mind if we come out with the right effort we're going to like the result we're going to get," Subban said.
The two previous playoff series between the teams ended in a sweep; Tampa Bay eliminated Montreal in 2004 on its way to winning the Stanley Cup, and the Canadiens swept the Lightning in the first round last year. Tampa Bay has won seven games in a row against Montreal since then, including five games during the 2014-15 regular season.
"The good thing is we're due, that's the way I look at it," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said.