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Canadiens look to avoid sweep against Lightning

by Sean Farrell /



Tampa Bay leads best-of-7 series 3-0

The Montreal Canadiens have scored seven goals in losing five of their past six games and could be eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning if they don't find any offense.

Lightning forward Tyler Johnson scored with less than two seconds remaining in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Amalie Arena on Wednesday to move his team within one win of the Eastern Conference Final.

"We have a special group in this room and we've faced a lot of adversity this year," Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty said. "This is obviously one of the biggest times where we have to face it and be strong but you can't do that individually, you have to do it as a group."

The Canadiens, who are 1-for-28 on the power play in the playoffs, haven't lost four games in a row since Jan. 18-24, 2014. Goalie Carey Price hasn't lost four straight starts since January of last season.

"I'm not going to guarantee anything like that," right wing Brendan Gallagher said. "You can guarantee work ethic, you can guarantee compete and that's something our team's going to do. We're not going to fold, we're going to battle, we're going to do whatever we can do to get back to the Bell Centre [for Game 5]."

Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban is glad there is no off day between games.

"The good thing is we don't have much time to think about it, so we've got to come back ready to keep our season alive [Thursday]," Subban said.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper compared the win against the Canadiens to a victory in Game 4 of the first round against the Detroit Red Wings.

"It's a race to four, and we just got the third," Cooper said. "We were kind of in a situation like this in Game 4 in Detroit and a game we weren't our best and we pulled out in the end. It was a different way of pulling out but we still pulled one out and I don't think teams that go through the grind of the playoffs paints the Picasso every time they play.

"We understand that we have shown much better than we showed [Wednesday], but in saying that, we did win the game and if we're going to hang our hat on something, we're up 3-0 and we have a chance to close out in our building. So if you were to tell me that when the series started, 'you're going into Game 4 and you can close them out', I think our guys would be pretty fired up about that."

Tampa Bay hasn't lost to Montreal all season. The Canadiens swept the Lightning in the first round last year, but the Lightning have won eight straight since.

"We know we have to be better [Thursday]. We got the win, that's great, but we definitely need more," Johnson said. "I don't think we were composed enough, I don't think we played our system enough, but they did play a great game. We've just got to match that intensity and match that desperation."

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