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Canadiens try to solve Bishop in Game 1 vs. Lightning

by Sean Farrell /



Game 1 of best-of-7 series

The Stanley Cup Playoffs truly wipe the slate clean after the NHL regular season when it comes to the Tampa Bay Lightning facing the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Friday.

Tampa Bay has won its past five regular-season games at Bell Centre, but lost two playoff games in Montreal last spring when the Lightning were swept by the Canadiens in the first round of the 2013-14 playoffs.

Montreal did not face Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop in that series. Bishop, who will start in goal, went 5-0-0 against the Canadiens this season.

"He's a really good goalie but we all understand that they dominated us during the regular season," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "We're probably the only team that got home-ice advantage that are the underdog. But one thing, we understand as a group that the regular season is one thing, and the playoffs, it's another season. And like last year, they got the best out of the regular season. But we got into the playoffs, it's another story and another season. We know he's a good goalie and we're going to have to find a way to score some goals."

Montreal goalie Carey Price won the four playoff games against Tampa Bay last year. He went 0-4-1 and allowed 16 goals with a 3.47 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in five starts against the Lightning this season.

Price was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy, and shared the William M. Jennings Trophy with Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks.

"It's nothing personal, it's just business," Price said. "It comes down to [Friday] night and trying to get off to a good start. Everything that's happened so far this season is really irrelevant coming into [Friday] night."

Canadiens forward Brandon Prust is happy he and his teammates earned home-ice advantage in the series despite their struggles in the regular season against Tampa Bay.

"It's big," Prust said. "It's good for us to be able to start at home and maybe a little tough travel after a Game 7 there (for Tampa Bay), but playoffs anything can really happen, but we're always happy when we're at home and we're feeding off our fans and feeding off this city."

Tampa Bay outscored Montreal 21-8 during the regular season. Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said he and his teammates won't be fazed by the playoff schedule when they take the ice Friday.

"We play every other day during the regular season," Callahan said. "So this shouldn't be anything new to us."

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