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Lightning plan to empty tank trying to avoid sweep

by Arpon Basu

MONTREAL -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping their strong play over the final two periods of Game 3 will carry over into Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday (7 pm ET; NHLN-US, CBC, RDS, FS-F).

The Canadiens lead the best-of-7 series 3-0 and are looking to complete the sweep. If the Lightning win, Game 5 will be Thursday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The fact they don't really have a choice but to maintain that high level of play makes it a bit easier for the Lightning to focus on the positives of their 3-2 loss Sunday.

The main point for Lightning coach Jon Cooper was that the youth on his team experiencing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time walked into an extremely hostile environment at Bell Centre on Sunday and showed no signs of wilting under the pressure.

"The guys are learning, the guys are finding out what playoff hockey is all about, and we're getting better," Cooper said. "The problem is now we're running out of time, so getting better is just not good enough anymore; now we have to be great. And we have to find a way to bring this series back to Tampa."

Over the final 40 minutes of Game 3, the Lightning outshot the Canadiens 21-18 and tied them 2-2 on the scoreboard, even though Tampa Bay felt it should have had one more after a Ryan Callahan goal in the second period was disallowed for goaltender interference.

The Lightning had a one-goal lead twice in Game 1 and haven't led since. They will look to do that by scoring the opening goal Tuesday.

"In those periods we were building momentum for ourselves," Lightning forward Alex Killorn said of the final 40 minutes Sunday. "We were building off lines, lines were going in and making plays. It just seemed like there was more of a will for us to win, a sense of desperation that should have been there in the first two games.

"[Tuesday] that's going to be taken to a whole different level when you talk about desperation because it could potentially … the fourth game could be the last game, so we have to play hard."

Cooper said the Lightning are using the possibility of getting the series back home in front of their fans one more time as motivation for Game 4. The same could be said of Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, who would like to reward their fans with a series sweep.

The atmosphere at Bell Centre was charged after the pregame presentation got the crowd of 21,273 excited, but the appearance of iconic Quebec star Ginette Reno to sing the Canada national anthem made the energy in the building spike even higher.

When forward Rene Bourque scored 11 seconds into the game, the decibel level at Bell Centre probably compared to a jet engine.

The Canadiens are bringing Reno back to sing the anthem for Game 4 after Bourque asked after the game Sunday that he'd like to see her back.

As confident as the Canadiens feel, they are taking nothing for granted when it comes to Game 4.

They know the Lightning have been a resilient team all season that has dealt with a myriad of obstacles, and don't expect them to give up in the face of this one.

"The Lightning are a tenacious team," Canadiens forward Daniel Briere said. "We saw it this year after they lost [Steven] Stamkos. Everyone expected them to fall apart and they did the opposite, they came together and finished strong to come second in the division. I expect the same from them [Tuesday].

"They've faced adversity before and they won't give up that easily."

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