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

After being unlucky in the first game and undisciplined in the last, the Canadiens need to just focus on what they can control.

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) stops Montreal Canadiens forward Torrey Mitchell (17) during the first period in Game Two of the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre.
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) stops Montreal Canadiens forward Torrey Mitchell (17) during the first period in Game Two of the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre.
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of their second round series, the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning were like two patients sharing a hospital room, finding a common bond through commiseration with one another about their condition: a dysfunctional power play.  On Sunday night, the Canadiens could only watch as the Lightning made a miraculous recovery from that debilitating illness.

With the Canadiens left bedridden and alone, their emotions quickly turned sour, with anger and frustration taking over.  That negativity led to more man disadvantage situations, which further fuelled the recovery of their opponent, going on to convert on four of its eight power play chances on the night in a 6-2 rout.

The five-game losing streak at the hands of the Lightning during the regular season has now been stretched to seven straight.  If the Canadiens are to have any hope of winning the Division Final, that streak cannot go to eight.

How to Watch

Start time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: CBC (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the United States: USA Network
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter Live

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Lightning
Record 2-0
55.2% (116)
5v5 Shot attempts for % (total attempts)
44.8% (94)
5v5 Goals For 4
5v5 Goals Against 3
5v5 Goal Ratio 1.33
0% (0/6)
PP% 33% (4/12)
PK% 100%

Keys to the Game

Tampa Bay now controls the line matchups at home, but seeing as how the likes of David Desharnais, Alex Galchenyuk, Dale Weise, and Alexei Emelin found themselves starting in their own defensive zone together at times at the Bell Centre, I don't believe there is much exploitation of the roster to be had that Michel Therrien did not allow to happen when he had that home-ice privilege.

While discipline has been the hot topic over the last two days, the Canadiens would be best served by getting to the root cause of that indiscipline.  That leads back to the frustration that the players are feeling.  Not just about their continual failure to score on the power play, but to score in general.

In eight playoff games, Canadiens forwards have scored just 11 five-on-five goals.  Some of the reasons for that lack of goal-scoring have been documented and dissected, but the performance of the Canadiens last game suggested that they have gone beyond just struggling to score, to believing that they can't score.

That's why you saw Brandon Prust going after Ben Bishop at the end of Game Two (and skirmish with Craig Anderson earlier in the first round; I'm not sure what his reasoning was in his infamous altercation with Braydon Coburn last game, to be honest).  It's why the Canadiens became listless about halfway through the second period when the Lightning put up what we can assume the home side viewed as an impossible-to-overcome one-goal lead.

The team would do well to realize just how difficult it has been to score goals in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  With Carey Price, Ben Bishop, Braden Holtby, and Henrik Lundqvist making up the goaltending foursome in the second round, the worst five-on-five team in the East sees its goalie stop more than 94% of shots.  You need to register at least 35 shots on goal if you hope to score two goals in a game in these Eastern Conference Semi-finals.  That number jumps to 38 when looking at Bishop's 94.74% save percentage specifically.  At 94.42%, you need 36 shots to get two by Price.

The Canadiens did very well in Game Two to score an even-strength goal early in the first.  They very nearly got that all-important second goal late in the period, with Torrey Mitchell putting in a dazzling short-handed rush to get in alone on Bishop, only to have his point blank shot turned aside.  If that shot had have found its way behind Bishop, Sunday's game would have played out very differently.

As it is, the Canadiens have outpossessed, outshot, and outplayed the Lightning in non-power play situations in both games, hitting two posts in a Game One that Montreal would have won with a quantum of puck luck.

For tonight's Game Three, the most important key is for Montreal to show some patience.  If the players can repeat the same even-strength performance they have put on over the first two games, they will be in great shape to put a win on the board and extend this series.