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Tampa Bay Lightning –

Learning from Round 1: The Lighting had to win Game 6 on the road before outlasting the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 in Game 7. Steven Stamkos had 43 goals in the regular season, but only had three assists against the Red Wings in the first round, but his defensive play was on point. Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Pala picked up the offensive slack during the first round and it will be important that this team sees where it is lacking and continues to find solutions. Johnson scored twice each in Games 2, 4 and 6; his six goals were tied for the most in the opening round with Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues. The Lightning were 2-for-30 and allowed a shorthanded goal on the powerplay. Stamkos had 13 power-play goals during the regular season, so his struggles to score were a major problem in the first round.

Winning Formula: Tampa Bay dominated Montreal going 5-0-0 against the Canadiens during the regular season, outscoring them 21-8; they hope to continue that trend in this post-season matchup. The Bolts have possibly the most forward depth of any team in the league. Tampa Bay’s defense scored five goals during the first round. Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman who each had more than 30 points during the regular season are solid in their end and have a focus on puck possession. Jason Garrison has a big shot from the point, Matt Carle, Coburn, Ondrej Sustr, and Nikita Nesterov all can move the puck and played a big role in limiting the Red Wings to 13 non-empty-net goals in seven games.

Montreal Canadiens –

Learning from Round 1: The Habs got scoring production from every line making their progression to the 2nd round a true team effort. Centers Tomas Plekanec, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn each finished with a goal and two assists, and left wing Max Pacioretty and right wing Dale Weise each had two goals. Flynn saved Game 1 when he had a goal and two assists in a 4-3 victory in Montreal. Forwards Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk each finished with a goal and two points. Lars Eller led the Habs with a 61.6 percent faceoff efficiency (45-of-73) and had a goal and two points. Center David Desharnais had two assists and won 48 of 92 faceoffs (52.2 percent). Devante Smith-Pelly led the Canadiens with 22 hits. Montreal needs to do more to avoid turnovers in the defensive zone. Defenseman Greg Pateryn who had no points in 17 regular-season games has had had two assists in three games in the post-season thus far. The Canadiens scored one goal in 20 man-advantage opportunities against the Senators and this was not new as their powerplay was troubling them all season.

Winning Formula: This team is successful because their 4th line is as important as their 1st. Expect Plekanec and Pacioretty to be in the thick of the action and play every inch of the ice. Pacioretty scored 37 goals in the regular season and  rejoined the Canadiens for Game 2 after missing the previous three games with an upper-body injury sustained April 5. Plekanec averaged 20:27 of ice time in six games. P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov are an intimidating defensive pairing. Subban leads the Canadiens in average ice time per game (25:08) and in scoring with four points (three assists). Markov averaged 25:03 and blocked 15 shots, but he struggled in the series with numerous turnovers. Jeff Petry and Alexei Emelin provide this team with great hits and blocking shots. The penalty-killing unit went 15-of-20 in the first round (75 percent) with defensemen Subban, Emelin, Gilbert and Petry, and forwards Plekanec, Prust and Eller play significant roles.

Goalie Matchup: Carey Price is up for the Vezina Trophy as well as the Hart Trophy, and his performance in the 1st Round spoke volumes on why that is the case. Price had a 1.94 GAA and .939 save percentage against the Senators. He capped the series with 43 saves in a 2-0 victory in Game 6 at Ottawa. Price bounced back from a 5-1 loss in Game 5 and became the first goaltender to shut out the Senators this season. Price allowed 12 goals in the series; he had 30 saves in the second and third periods of Game 6. Price led the NHL or shared the lead in three of the major categories during the regular season: wins (44), goals-against average (1.96), and save percentage (.933). Lightning goalie Bishop’s absence was the primary reason the team was swept in last year’s post-season. Bishop rebounded with a solid regular season (40-13-5, 2.32 goals-against average, .916 save percentage), and after some ups and downs against Detroit he made the saves that had to be made in the final two games. That included 31 in Game 7, his first Stanley Cup Playoff shutout. He finished the series with a 1.87 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 13 starts after succeeding Evgeni Nabokov as Bishop’s backup. He had a 2.36 GAA and a .918 save percentage. If he finds himself in the crease he would give the Lightning a better chance of winning than they had last year without Bishop in net.

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Read analysis from the Lightning and the Canadiens first round matchups.