Victor Hedman doesn’t want to talk about how Tampa Bay Lightning can become the second team in 22 year to win the Stanley Cup.
Hedman, Lightning and all of last season’s titles are over. They are now focusing on this year.
Hedman stated, “Obviously, what the bubble did last year was very special,” referring to the Lightning’s victory over Dallas in six games in Edmonton, Alberta. But at the end, we are not there yet. We must win another game. We won’t be satisfied until we win the next game.
On Friday night, the lightning took a major step forward with a convincing 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens to reach Game 3 in the Stanley Cup Final. Tampa Bay scored twice in the first minutes of each period to give the Canadiens a 3-0 series advantage. Montreal will host Game 4 on Monday night.
Tampa Bay has the opportunity to join Pittsburgh (2016 & ’17), and to sweep the final for the first time since Detroit beat Washington 1998.
Tyler Johnson, who was playing in the Lightning’s second game after moving from the fourth line to the second to replace injured forward Alex Killorn, led the way scoring twice.
Instead of allowing Montreal to continue building on the momentum generated by a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 2, which Tampa Bay lost despite being outshot 43-23 in the second game, the Lightning took it to Montreal. Tampa Bay has now scored the opening goal in each of the three games.
Johnson stated that Johnson didn’t want the team to be sat back, particularly in neutral zones. Johnson said, “I think that a lot of it comes down to our team wanting the attack and being close. We are just trying to do it.”
Hedman and Nikita Kucherov had an assist and a goal each. Blake Coleman and Jan Rutta, each with an empty-netter scored for the Lightning. They also won the Cup in 2004. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 32 shot
Inexplicably, Vasilevskiy failed to allow Nick Suzuki’s shot from right circle to beat him through the legs to reduce Tampa Bay’s lead at 4-2 with 1 minute left in the second half. With 4:41 remaining, Johnson scored his second goal, putting the Lightning up 5-2.
The Canadiens must respond.
Carey Price, goalie, stated that “we don’t have any choice.” “We’ve faced a lot of adversity this season, and our backs are against the wall. We’ll have to bring our best to the game.”
After rallying from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat Toronto, the Canadiens will be eliminated for the second consecutive postseason.
Even more frightening is a 3-0 hole. Only four teams have won a series in NHL playoff history after losing their first three games. Toronto was the only team to win in the final, beating Detroit to win the Cup in 1942. Los Angeles Kings defeated San Jose in the first round of the 2014 NHL playoff series to overcome a 3-0 series deficit.
Phillip Danault, Corey Perry scored for a Montreal team who felt disgraced in its deepest playoff run after winning its 24th Cup.
Danault stated that it was kind of like the entire season, they’ve been underdogs. Danault spoke of a team with the worst record among the 16 qualifiers. No matter what was said, we didn’t give up the entire year. “I can assure you that no one on the team will quit now,” I said.
This was the NHL’s first game in July, one year after its August debut.
The Canadiens were not excited to play in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since their 4-1 win over Wayne Gretzky-led Kings on June 9, 1993. The Canadiens were also disappointed by the return of Dominique Ducharme, interim coach. They were outscored 8-2 at Tampa Bay.
Ducharme was quick to take Montreal’s one-time timeout, after the Lightning scored 1 to 35 apart. This allowed him to make a 2-0 lead of 3:27 in. Ducharme, who had tested positive for COVID-19, spent the last two weeks in Montreal mandatory self-quarantine.
“I can definitely play more. It’s just not good enough,” Price said, having conceded five goals on 25 shots.
He’s not alone.
Montreal won the first period 2-1 down.
Erik Cernak, Canadiens defenseman, caught the Canadiens asleep on a line change. This set Kucherov up for scoring on a 2-on-1 break at 1:40. Cernak, who was deep in his own zone sent a pass to Ondrej Palt at Montreal’s blueline. Palat chased the puck to the left circle, and fed Kucherov who flipped the puck in the open right.
Johnson scored 1:53 seconds later on a 2-on-1 block and after Price had his blocker up in order to stop Mathieu’s shot from left circle, Mathieu Joseph was unable to score. Johnson received the rebound from Joseph’s skate, and he backhanded it to his right side.
Kucherov scored a goal and assisted, his 36th playoff game. This placed him in a tie for fourth place on the NHL active player list. … Lightning captain Steven Stamkos participated in his 92nd playoff match, moving up to sixth place on the team list, one behind Cedric Paquette.