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Lightning look to put 'stranglehold' on Canadiens

by Sean Farrell /



Tampa Bay leads best-of-7 series 1-0

The Tampa Bay Lightning know what is within reach if they win Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

"I think we can really take a stranglehold on this series," Lightning defenseman Matt Carle said Saturday. "We have a really good opportunity to go up 2-0 and grab two wins out of their building, and you kind of put the first one behind us and try to get better and focus on the next one."

Tampa Bay opened the series Friday with a 2-1 double-overtime win at Bell Centre. Carle said he and his teammates are already completely focused on Game 2 and the opportunity to return to Amalie Arena with a huge home-ice advantage.

"It's been something we've been good at all year, just getting ready for the next game, and we kind of talked about that a little bit [Friday] night before we started Game 1," Carle said. "Nobody really cares about what happened the series before. We won, we moved on, and now it's time to do that again. We'll probably address that [Sunday] night. We won Game 1, time to move on to Game 2 and go from there."

The Game 1 win was the sixth in a row for the Lightning against the Canadiens since Montreal swept Tampa Bay from the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year.

After a 7-1 victory on Oct. 13, Tampa Bay's four other regular-season wins against Montreal were by two goals or fewer.

"Every time we play them it seems to be close," Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said. "It's two evenly matched up teams and two good teams, and I think [Friday] night showed that."

Montreal coach Michel Therrien said he was encouraged by the Canadiens' play in Game 1 and expects another close game Sunday.

"We had a really tough time during the regular season; we hadn't played our best against Tampa Bay in the regular season for different reasons," Therrien said. "But we all understand when you get to the playoffs it's a new season. Teams get a chance to get prepared. We know what we're facing. Our focus is only on one game. And I think from the team's standpoint, we did a lot of good things to be really upbeat and confident for [Sunday] night's game."

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