To Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper, seeing his power play explode for four goals on four shots Sunday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Montreal Canadiens was a cure for indigestion.
Tampa Bay entered the game 2-for-34 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the man-advantage and 0-for-16 on the road before going 4-for-8 in their 6-2 win against the Canadiens at Bell Centre. Captain Steven Stamkos also scored his first goal of the playoffs to power the Lightning, who head home for Game 3 (7 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports) on Wednesday leading the best-of-7 series 2-0.
"I don't know if it was more relief for me that [Stamkos] scored or the power play scored," Cooper said. "It was a whole compilation of Alka Seltzer."
Valtteri Filppula scored the Lightning's first power-play goal, their first since Game 2 of the first round against the Detroit Red Wings. Nikita Kucherov scored twice with the man advantage, sandwiched around a power-play goal by Victor Hedman. The man-advantage success gave Tampa Bay a 5-1 lead 6:37 into the third period.
"We took advantage of our power plays today," Stamkos said. "It was nice to see. That's been struggling for a while so I think that third goal was kind of a dagger to get that one 4-on-3."
Canadiens goalie Carey Price, a finalist for the Hart and Vezina trophies, allowed all six goals, the most he's given up all season. The onslaught began after Montreal took a 1-0 lead at 7:20 of the first period. With P.K. Subban off for cross-checking, Filppula tied the game with 24 seconds left in the period, a goal Cooper believes changed the course of the game.
"There was a lot of movement. We made smart decisions and we shot the puck hard," Cooper said. "When you're making tape-to-tape passes you give yourself a better chance. There was no goal bigger than Filppula's. They were carrying the play clearly in the first period, and for them to walk into their dressing room and they have nothing to show for it, I thought that was a momentum swinger for us. I thought we took the game over after that."