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Lightning need to avoid sitting back again in Game 4

by Corey Long /

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Cooper said they went into a prevent defense against the Montreal Canadiens for much of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round after taking the lead on Alex Killorn's goal in the first period.

Evan after a 2-1 win, Cooper knows they can't do that again Thursday in Game 4 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) if they want to sweep the best-of-7 series.

"It was a weird game because I thought we played well to get the lead and then sat back for the next 48 minutes or so," Cooper said Thursday. "Once they tied the score, the game settled down again. Do I like that our guys found a way to win? Sure. But you don't want to rely on that. We want to play a full 60 minutes [Thursday]."

After Killorn's goal, the Lightning had two shots on goal for the final eight minutes of the first period and the first 15:55 of the second; that 23:55 of game time included a span of 18:41 without any shots.

Tyler Johnson scored the game-winning goal with 1.1 seconds left in the third period.

A Canadiens victory Thursday would send the series back to Montreal for Game 5 on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN).

"We weren't at our best Wednesday and we have to be better [Thursday] if we want to win," Lightning forward Ondrej Palat said. "We all know the fourth one is the toughest and we have to be better."

Palat was one of the players on the ice during Johnson's winning goal. He got the puck to defenseman Victor Hedman, who made the pass to Johnson in front of the net.

"I knew it was close, and when I looked at the clock it was 0.0 so I wasn't sure," he said. "But it's awesome, and [Hedman] made a great play. He's good defensively but he also is good on the rush and made a nice play."

Hedman said he had no idea how much time was left when he got on the ice at the start of his shift.

"I knew there were around 30 seconds left when I jumped on the ice but I had no clue of the time," Hedman said. "I was going to shoot it but I saw Johnson going hard to the net and I put it there for him."

Hedman said he knows the series can shift on one swing of momentum. He said the Lightning saw several things they will try to clean up Thursday.

"We looked at video and saw our desperation level wasn't high enough," Hedman said. "We are in a good position to finish it out on home ice, but we have to expect them to have a high desperation level and play their best game of the series."

Here is the projected lineup:

Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan

Nikita Kucherov - Tyler Johnson - Ondrej Palat

J.T. Brown - Valtteri Filppula - Brian Boyle

Jonathan Drouin - Vladislav Namestnikov - Brenden Morrow

Anton Stralman - Victor Hedman

Braydon Coburn - Matthew Carle

Andrej Sustr - Jason Garrison

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Nikita Nesterov

Injured: Cedric Paquette (undisclosed)

Status report: Cooper said Paquette's status will be determined before warmups. If he can play, Drouin likely would come out of the lineup. … Drouin was minus-1 rating in 9:54 of ice time as Paquette's replacement Wednesday.

Who's hot: Johnson's goal in Game 3 was his NHL-leading eighth of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. … Killorn has three points in the past two games.

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