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Canadiens vs Lightning: Game Two — Preview, start time, and TV schedule

Before heading to Tampa for two games, can the Habs get a win at home to tie the series up?

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Double overtime in the playoffs is the kind of thing you always want to see as a hockey fan. There is nothing more exciting than two teams playing sudden death hockey, and likely nothing as disappointing as watching your team lose in said situation.

On Friday night, that is exactly what happened, as the Canadiens threw all they had at the Lightning, but lost in heartbreaking fashion as Nikita Kucherov ended it in the second overtime. Carey Price performed admirably, but it wasn't enough, as the team in front of him just couldn't find the net behind Ben Bishop enough.

Now, this second game is essentially a must-win, as going to Tampa down two is a worst-case scenario. The fact that the two games in Tampa will be back-to-back should make it easier to achieve at least a split on the road, but you really don't want to go into that in desperation mode.

How to Watch

Start time: 6:00 PM EDT / 3:00 PM PDT
In Canada: CBC (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the United States: NBCSN
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter Live

Tale of the tape

Canadiens Statistic Lightning
0-1
Record 1-0
52.4% (85)
5v5 Shot attempts for % (total attempts)
47.5% (77)
1 5v5 Goals For 2
2 5v5 Goals Against 1
0.5
5v5 Goal Ratio 2.0
0% (0/3)
PP% 0% (0/4)
100%
PK% 100%

Keys to the Game

One would have to think that if a team plays the way that the Canadiens did on Friday every game in a seven game series, they are bound to win the required four games. It wasn't an absolute thumping by any stretch, but with Carey Price as your goaltender, a performance like that should yield a regulation win more often than not. Most of that game was great, and replicating that performance could well yield the victory they need.

The first, and most glaring problem that needs to be addressed, is of course the lack of goals. The team is currently sporting a highly troubling shooting percentage, and the hope has to be that they can find a little more luck in that department tonight. While regression to the mean for shooting percentages can take some time, that is not a luxury the Habs have right now, so they may need to make their own luck so to speak.

This is the part where the proverbial dead horse that is the powerplay woes must be beaten. If any team lacks scoring, one of the best ways to rectify that is by capitalizing on powerplay opportunities. The man advantage is not only struggling to produce goals, but typically those failures kill momentum and lead to a lull in even strength shot attempts. Simply put, the powerplay is so bad, it is even causing problems in the minutes immediately following it. They absolutely need to try and generate something with those chances if they want to get past Tampa.

Andrew Berkshire said it first — and I think it's a brilliant idea — that moving David Desharnais to the wing and Alex Galchenyuk to centre could help give that line a boost. Desharnais struggled mightily in game one even while being zonally sheltered, and putting Galchenyuk in the middle instead could give that line a completely different look. I'm not so sure that Michel Therrien is ready to take Berkshire's advice, but I reiterate said advice because it could be the key to getting some better production out of that trio.

Ben Bishop showed some serious issues in his puck handling during game one. There were a few occasions early on where he flubbed his handles, nearly leading to goals against. Considering that the Habs love to play chip and chase, it wouldn't be surprising to see them do even more of that, forcing Bishop to handle the puck more. If they can forecheck hard and pick up on any mistakes by Bishop, they may wind up with some looks at an empty net, a scenario in which one would have to hope for better shooting luck.

And then there's Carey Price. This is a player who gives his team a chance to win every single night. With him in net, Therrien's mantra of needing three goals to win is all but a guarantee. If they can grant him a little more run support, they can count on Carey Price to take it from there.