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PHT Morning Skate: Canadiens aiming to sweep Lightning

Apr 22, 2014, 8:38 AM EDT

Rene Bourque, Brian Gionta, Matthew Carle, AP

Four games hit the ice tonight and there’s a chance we see one series come to an end. The Montreal Canadiens have a 3-0 lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning and have a chance to finish off the series on home ice.

Out west, the San Jose Sharks have the opportunity to take a commanding 3-0 lead as that series shifts to Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Kings have owned the Sharks on their turf, however, and will need to do the same to get back into the series. The two series that are knotted at 1-1 also move to new locations for Game 3 with the Red Wings hosting the Bruins and the Flyers hosting the Rangers.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday night’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ETHere’s the FanDuel link.

Game 4: Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning [Montreal leads series 3-0] (7:00 p.m. ET — NHL Network)

It’s now or never again this season for the Lightning as they must win to stay alive. At the very least they’ll have captain Steven Stamkos available to them, but with the way the Canadiens have put the full-on blitz on the Lightning he hasn’t been able to carry the whole team.

Instead, the Habs have brought attacks from P.K. Subban and Rene Bourque all while Carey Price has stood tall in goal. Look for Montreal to continue bringing the pressure and force the Lightning back on their heels and the raucous crowd at Bell Centre to try and turn the tide once again.

Game 3: Detroit Red Wings vs. Boston Bruins [Series tied 1-1] (7:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The first two games of this series saw each team get under the other’s skin by just going about things they way they usually do. The Wings used high pressure and puck possession to frustrate the Bruins, where in Game 2 the Bruins stepped up the physical play and got the Red Wings to play into their games.

So just how does it go in Game 3? Jimmy Howard will have to bear down after getting a full-scale blitz by the B’s in Game 2 and Detroit will have to find ways to slow down the Bruins top line of Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla. Steering clear of Zdeno Chara might be a good idea as well. Look for Mike Babcock to find ways to get Pavel Datsyuk away from him.

source: Getty ImagesGame 3: Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers [Series tied 1-1] (8:00 p.m. ET — CNBC)

Perhaps the most interesting player for the Flyers in this series is Ray Emery. He wasn’t supposed to be the starter in the postseason, but after Steve Mason‘s injury, here he is playing very well and perhaps the reason the Flyers took Game 2. Sure Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux are doing their thing, but it’s Emery with the stability in goal.

The trick for the Rangers in Game 3 is finding an effective way to crack through Emery. The early part of Game 2 seemed to show they’d found their niche, but after a couple of early goals the offense disappeared and Emery got hot. New York will need a classic big road game out of Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, and Martin St. Louis while Henrik Lundqvist reasserts himself as the King.

Game 3: Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks [San Jose leads series 2-0] (10:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

It’s been a bad series for Jonathan Quick. He’s allowed more goals in two games in these playoffs than he allowed to the Sharks in seven games last season. Poor play from him and the rest of the Kings defense has them down 2-0, but with how they’ve owned the Sharks in L.A., you get the feeling this series is far from over.

That said, the Kings have to find some way to slow down the Sharks. Speed is killing L.A. and guys like Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, and Logan Couture are taking full advantage of that. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty were getting talked up for NHL Awards this season and they’re going to need to prove why starting tonight.

  1. montrealbbr - Apr 22, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    Get your brooms out! Time to put the final nail in this coffin and get ready for Detroit!

    • mgp1219 - Apr 22, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      As long as the refs keep handing the canadiens games, they will advance. What a joke!

      • fpstratton - Apr 22, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        I think the problem hasn’t been the refs. The problem has been that Tampa Bay has been badly outplayed. Aside from the great Steven Stamkos’ heroics in game 1, where he almost single-handedly kept the Lightning in it, Tampa has badly underachieved in this series. Until game 3, they had great difficulty getting any consistent offensive flow going, while Montreal executed extremely well. Pacioretty has been a beast, and the Habs are deserving of winning this series.

  2. ctcork - Apr 22, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    I will be one drunk Lightning fan tonight. Hoping we can at least make them have to finish this thing in Tampa

  3. sjsharks66 - Apr 22, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    I had the lightning going to ECF on my bracket…. Miracles can happen, just not in Tampa I suppose.

  4. imgoingtowichita - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Dear NHL:

    I am looking to put money on this game. Has the Montreal victory already been ‘decided’ or can I take the odds and we have the players settle it?

  5. joey4id - Apr 22, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Cooper has not done a very good job utilizing his best players. Stamkos needs to play top player minutes which is between 22 to 24 minutes per game.

    • mgp1219 - Apr 22, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      go away joey

      • joey4id - Apr 22, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        Ok! Bye! 💋

  6. bigblueapple - Apr 22, 2014 at 12:30 PM

  7. themagicman1223 - Apr 22, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    I guess people forget how TB was handed a PP to them with the Briere penalty and scored on that, as usual bias and hate outweighs common sense. The refs blew alot of calls on both sides, take off your blinders.

    • fpstratton - Apr 22, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      Absolutely! It’s obvious who the better team has been through the first three games.

  8. drewsylvania - Apr 22, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Habs game is at home, so we know who will win and why.

    • joey4id - Apr 22, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      Dumb comment! Where were games 1 and 2 played? Who won those 2 games and why?

      • drewsylvania - Apr 22, 2014 at 1:59 PM

        Sorry, I’m no longer arguing with aggressively stupid people.

      • joey4id - Apr 22, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        Since when have you decided to argue with like minded people as you?

      • ironyisadeadscene - Apr 22, 2014 at 4:54 PM

        Joey4id, I would have gone with the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” defense…..you gotta step up your game son

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