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Lightning-Canadiens Preview (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 19 Apr 2014 18:58:32 PDT)
- Brian Gionta knows what happened the last two times the Montreal Canadiens opened a playoff series with a pair of wins on the road. The most recent was in 2011, and the Boston Bruins stormed back to win Game 7 in overtime on Nathan Horton's shot off a defenseman's leg. Before that was 2006, when the Canadiens took the opening two games in Carolina only to drop the next four, partly through losing star center Saku Koivu to a series-ending eye injury from an accidental high stick by Justin Williams in Game 4. Both times, the team that came back to beat Montreal went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Saturday, April 19 (Comcast SportsNet New England)
(Sat, 19 Apr 2014 13:18:25 PDT)
*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Joe Yerdon says the Avs players are rallying around the interesting tactics displayed by Patrick Roy.*The Tampa Bay Lightning are down 0-2 to the Montreal Canadiens, and without Ben Bishop. Tampa, we might have a problem.*Great American shootout hero T.J. Oshie has returned to the St. Louis Blues lineup for Game 2, and augments a lineup that already has the lead over the Chicago Blackhawks.*Ray Whitney is proud of his NHL longevity, but is clearly looking to make an impact on the playoff drive for the Dallas Stars. ...

Lucic fined $5,000 for spear to DeKeyser (Comcast SportsNet New England)
(Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:19:38 PDT)
BOSTON Milan Lucic has done the crime, and now hell do the time. Lucic was fined $5,000 by the NHL for a spear to Danny DeKeysers groin at the end of the second period of Bostons 1-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 at TD Garden. Lucic addressed the media following practice on Saturday morning and admitted that he got lost in the heat of the moment.

Palat skates at practice, game-day decision for Game 3 (NBC Sports)
(Sat, 19 Apr 2014 09:23:42 PDT)
He missed Game 2 with an injury.

NHL-Highlights of Friday's NHL playoff games
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 22:14:15 PDT)
(Adds late game) April 18 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Friday's National Hockey League playoff games - - Red Wings 1, Bruins 0 Center Pavel Datsyuk broke a scoreless tie with 3:01 left in regulation as the Detroit Red Wings took a 1-0 lead in the first round of their Eastern Conference playoffs series against the Boston Bruins. Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard made 25 saves while picking up the shutout as the Red Wings beat the top seed and defending Eastern Conference champion Bruins.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Three Stars: Howard, Price shine; Getzlaf leads Ducks (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:50:02 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings The Red Wings went into TD Garden and upset the Boston Bruins 1-0 in Game 1 thanks to a 25-save shutout from Howard. The game was scoreless until late in the third period when Pavel Datsyuk pulled some sorcerey for the game's only goal . No. 2 Star: Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks The Anaheim captain has had an eventful three days. On Wednesday, he took a puck to the face . Then Thursday night, he and his wife had a baby girl. During Game 2 Friday night he scored a first period goal and assisted on what would eventually stand as the game-winner as the Ducks went up 2-0 on the Dallas Stars with a 3-2 victory. No. 3 Star: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens Montreal took control of home ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 4-1 win in Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead. Price stopped 26 shots and Rene Bourque scored a pair of goals for the Canadiens. Bourque now has five goals in his last 12 playoff games. Honorable mention:  P.K. Subban recorded a pair of assists on Montreal's first two goals ... Bourque's first goal came in pretty fashion ... Tuukka Rask stopped 23 shots in a losing effort ... Frederik Andersen made 34 saves for the Ducks. Did you know?  "Reilly Smith became the first Bruin to face his brother in a playoff games since Phil Esposito played against Chicago goalie Tony Esposito in 1975. Brendan Smith plays defense for Detroit." (AP) Dishonorable mention:  Milan Lucic will probably be fined for this cup check on Danny DeKeyser ... Anders Lindback allowed three goals on 23 shots and was pulled late in the third period.

Talking Points: Red Wings 1, Bruins 0 (Comcast SportsNet New England)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:17:24 PDT)
Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the Bruins' Game 1 loss to the Red Wings:

Canadiens top Lightning again for 2-0 series lead (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:30:42 PDT)
The Montreal Canadiens are gaining confidence with every playoff victory. Everyone is supporting each other and buying in to what the coaching staff is teaching us,'' goaltender Carey Price said Friday night after a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. ''We are living in the moment.'' Rene Bourque scored twice, and David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher had the other goals for Montreal. ''It was a complete team effort,'' Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said.

Canadiens head home with 2-0 series lead on Lightning (The SportsXchange)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:53:49 PDT)
TAMPA, Fla. -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has seen this movie before. Third-seeded in the Atlantic Division playoffs, Montreal used two goals from right winger Rene Bourque and a smothering neutral zone defense to down the second-seeded Lightning 4-1 on Friday and take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven first-round Stanley Cup playoff series. Tampa Bay held a 3-0-1 series advantage over Montreal in the regular season and won in five of its last six Game 2 situations, but none of that matters now. Tampa Bay faces a near must-win situation Sunday at the Bell Centre.

Canadiens 4, Lightning 1 (The SportsXchange)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:54:37 PDT)
TAMPA, Fla. -- With home-ice advantage long gone, the Tampa Bay Lightning must find answers quickly to earn another game at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Crashing Lightning: Montreal crushes Tampa Bay, takes 2-0 series lead (NBC Sports)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:44:22 PDT)
Game 3 will be played in Montreal.

Milan Lucic takes the train to Quenneville with DeKeyser crotch spear (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:37:07 PDT)
Before the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings play Game 2 on Sunday, Milan Lucic will be a few dollars short in the wallet. In the second period of Game 1 Friday night, Lucic had enough with Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser and decided to give up a cup check: Your browser does not support iframes. That's just... with the amount of television cameras in NHL rinks these days, of course this was going to be caught. No penalty was called, but you can be sure Stephane Quintal and the Department of Player Safety will have something to say about it. Lucic is no stranger to the spear, having done something similar to Alexei Emelin of the Montreal Canadiens in March. He went unpunished, but this blatant attempt will likely not be dismissed. If Joel Quenneville is out $25,000 for grabbing his junk while arguing a call, what's the wallet hit on Lucic going to be? - - - - - - - Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

Ference: I grew to hate Montreal (Comcast SportsNet New England)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:22:05 PDT)
Andrew Ference joins Felger & Mazz to discuss his best rivalry. "Theres no rivalries like the Habs and Bruins," says Ference. Felger asked Ference if he grew to 'hate' the Canadiens during his time in Boston. "Oh, for sure," says Ference.

Playoff viewership way up through first two days (NBC Sports)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:09:57 PDT)
Naturally, the Blackhawks-Blues triple-overtime game was very popular.

Rene Bourque doubles Canadiens' Game 2 lead with pretty goal (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:43:59 PDT)
As the Tampa Bay Lightning try to deal with the losses of Ben Bishop and Ondrej Palat, the Montreal Canadiens are taking advantage in their first round series. An overtime win in Game 1 has been followed up by a strong start in Game 2. David Desharnais tipped home a power play goal for Montreal early in the second period to open the scoring. It was their first goal with the man advantage in 28 opportunities. Eight minutes later they doubled their lead after a pretty series of moves from Rene Bourque. Here in all its glory is the RDS call: Montreal took a 2-0 lead into the locker room at the second intermission on Bourque's second goal since Feb. 4. Meanwhile, the injuries continued to build for the Lightning as forward J.T. Brown left the game in the second period after getting hit along the boards by Alexei Emelin. The Canadiens ended up winning 4-1. Do the Lightning stand a chance heading back to Montreal down 0-2 in the series? - - - - - - - Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

Video: Canadiens end long power-play drought (NBC Sports)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:34:44 PDT)
They took a 1-0 lead over Tampa Bay in the process.

WATCH LIVE: Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning (Game 2) (NBC Sports)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:34:22 PDT)
Montreal has a 1-0 series lead.

This time, Tampa will totally try to not hand Montreal the win (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:02:13 PDT)
Game 1 of the divisional semifinal series between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning was a nail-biter: a 5-4 win in overtime for the Habs on a Dale Weise goal. But this was your proverbial “closer on the scoreboard than it actually was” kind of game, because Montreal dominated them in shots on goal (44-25) and possession (60 percent to 40 percent in corsi close, i.e. corsi in a 1-goal game). To those ends, it was a blowout. Check out this shot attempt chart from Extra Skater:

‘Rejuvenated’ Weise enjoying the belief of his coach in Montreal (NBC Sports)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:48:28 PDT)
Unlike the last coach he had in Vancouver.

PHT Morning Skate: Bruins-Red Wings finally drop the puck (NBC Sports)
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014 05:24:45 PDT)
Three games will keep your Friday night occupied.

Varlamov, Avalanche ready for postseason return (Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic)
(Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:02:36 PDT)
With the Stanley Cup Playoffs underway, CSNWashington.com is previewing each of the eight first round matchups. For the first time in four years, former Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov will start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Colorado Avalanche open their first round series Thursday against the Minnesota Wild. The Avalanche, who began the season with a League-best 14-2-0 record and closed out the campaign with an 8-3-3 mark over the final 14 games, went on to win a franchise-best 52 games and the Central Division title. Varlamov earned 41 of those victories, the most in the NHL this season.

Canadiens-Lightning Preview (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:26:43 PDT)
Carey Price concedes that failing to protect a pair of third-period leads is not a formula for success in the NHL playoffs. The Montreal Canadiens won the opening game of their series against Tampa Bay without a stellar performance from one of the league's top goaltenders, and they know they will have to be much better defensively the rest of the way against the young Lightning. Price shared the NHL's third-best save percentage during the regular season, and then allowed four goals in Tampa Bay's first 14 shots in Game 1. The Canadiens still managed to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series, with Dale Weise scoring his first career playoff goal for a 5-4 overtime win on Wednesday.

Canadiens avenge truly terrible rendition of 'O Canada' by winning Game 1 (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:26:09 PDT)
The Stanley Cup playoffs were nearly ruined before they had even officially begun on Wednesday night. Aspiring Opera singer Max DeFrancesco sang the anthems for Game 1 between the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning, and either due to nerves or perhaps a hatred for Canada, he sang... poorly. After struggling with the pitch on his first few notes (pitchy, dawg), DeFrancesco struggled with the language the rest of the way. He appeared to occasionally slip into Italian, which is weird, since nobody sings the anthem in Italian. Considering the language politics at work in Canada -- and especially in Quebec, the province from which the Canadiens hail -- splicing in words from the wrong second language (and also some non-words from a non-language, I think) is up there with dropping in a line with America the Beautiful. That's not how you do it. Such disrespect! The Canadiens would go on to win the game 5-4 in overtime, and it's clear to me why: they were motivated by the sullying of their national anthem. They are Canada's lone playoff representative this year, and dammit if they aren't out there giving their all for their country. Wednesday's win was more than just a good start to the postseason for the Habs. It was a lesson to any team they may encounter on their way to glory: mess up our glorious anthem, our song of freedom and pride, and you will stoke the fire deep within us. If the Lightning hope to win game two, their anthem singer had better shape up, or the Bolts will be heading back to Montreal for a lesson on how its done trailing two games to zero.

NHL playoffs: Canadiens’ Gallagher returns after taking puck to throat (NBC on Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 17 Apr 2014 06:41:03 PDT)
Hockey players tend to fight through grueling injuries all season long, but with the playoffs in motion, it’s time for them to really shake off some scary stuff. Ignoring players shaking off injuries heading into Game 1, Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher might be the first truly impressive tough guy, as he didn’t miss much time after taking a puck to the throat. -- James O'Brien, ProHockeyTalk

Weise gives Canadiens 1-0 series lead over Loghting with OT win (NBC on Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 17 Apr 2014 06:39:01 PDT)
Your browser does not support iframes. The Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning gave hockey fans plenty of what was expected (great work from Thomas Vanek and Steven Stamkos ), yet the game was just as much about the unexpected. If the frequently wide-open pace wasn’t surprising enough, Dale Weise broke the star-scoring narrative by notching the 5-4 overtime game-winner to give Montreal a 1-0 series lead. Let’s take a look back at how the contest came down to Weise’s surprising game-winner. Score-wise, the game was a seesaw affair as the two teams traded leads throughout. Tampa Bay opened the scoring midway through the opening frame on a Nikita Kucherov marker, but Montreal replied just 19 seconds later when Tomas Plekanec walked Radko Gudas and snapped the puck past Anders Lindback . In the second period, a similar narrative unfolded — Steve Stamkos gave the Bolts a 2-1 lead at the 13:24 mark, only for Montreal to respond with the equalizer minutes later on Brian Gionta ‘s shorthanded tally. In the third, guess what? More lead changes. This time it was Montreal blowing a pair of one-goal advantages, though, as Lars Eller ‘s early marker was canceled out by Alex Killorn ‘s first-ever playoff goal; minutes later, Thomas Vanek’s go-ahead 4-3 goal was equaled when Stamkos scored his second of the game with six and a half minutes remaining. The Bolts hung with the Habs despite being largely outplayed and badly outshot (35-16) during regulation. Lindback, forced into the starter’s role late in the regular season after Ben Bishop went down to an upper-body injury, was solid in the face of heavy action, finishing with 39 saves on 44 shots. Carey Price was billed as the sure thing in this goalie matchup, yet he had the rougher night in regulation, at least statistically speaking. Chances are, he’ll gladly take a weak outing on paper (he made 21 out of 25 saves) if it means getting a key win. The two teams get back at it on Friday with the Lightning facing the prospect of heading to Montreal down 0-2. This team has shown remarkable resiliency this season, but Tampa Bay might dig too deep a hole if they can’t bounce back in Game 2. - James O'Brien, NBC Sports

Dose: Furious First Day (Rotoworld)
(Thu, 17 Apr 2014 01:33:00 PDT)
Thursday's playoff edition of the Dose discusses a surprisingly high-scoring first set of Game 1's.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Three Stars: OT drama in Tampa; Sutter power Penguins (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:51:32 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Dale Weise, Montreal Canadiens The Habs forward was in the right place at the right time – 18:08 of OT – when Daniel Briere hit him with a pass from behind the net. Weise snapped a shot past a frozen Anders Lindback for the 5-4 victory in Game 1 of Montreal’s series vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning. No. 2 Star: Brandon Sutter, Pittsburgh Penguins Sutter’s wrist shot at 8:18 of the third period beat Sergei Bobrovsky and gave the Pittsburgh Penguins their only lead of the night – and the game-winning goal in their 4-3 victory. Sutter also won 53 percent of his faceoffs. No. 3 Star: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning Even in a losing effort, Stamkos was awesome in Game 1 vs. Montreal. He skated 27:31, scored two goals and was dangerous on almost every shift. Honorable mention: Ryan Getzlaf and Matt Beleskey had a goal and an assist each as the Anaheim Ducks held off a Dallas Stars’ rally for a 4-3 victory. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin scored in the losing effort. Frederik Andersen made 32 saves in his playoff debut. … Jack Johnson had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets. … Brian Gionta had a goal and an assist for the Habs. Alex Killorn had the same for the Bolts. Dishonorable mention: Kris Letang struggled for the Penguins, with no points and a minus-1 and four penalty minutes. … Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz were minus-2. … Valtteri Filppula and Ryan Callahan were minus-2 with no points. … Bobrovsky was outplayed by Marc-Andre Fleury, which probably can’t happen if the Jackets want to advance.

Cooper: Bolts ‘kept shooting ourselves in the foot’ in OT loss (NBC Sports)
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:52:09 PDT)
"We did it time and time again."

Weise's OT goal lifts Canadiens over Lightning 5-4 (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:07:19 PDT)
Down one goal, Montreal battled back - twice. Dale Weise then put the Tampa Bay Lightning away for the night. Weise scored 18:08 into overtime and Carey Price stopped nine shots in the extra period, giving the Canadiens a 5-4 victory in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series on Wednesday. We didn't want to get out of our game plan,'' Montreal coach Michel Therrien said.

Weise scores OT winner as Habs take Game 1 in Tampa (The SportsXchange)
(Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:03:51 PDT)
TAMPA, Fla. -- Maybe it was for the best that Montreal Canadiens winger Daniel Weise did not have time to think, much less over-think. As center Daniel Briere's pass from behind the goal approached, there was not time for Weise to consider what could be his first playoff goal, an overtime winner in Game 1 of Montreal's Eastern Conference series with Tampa Bay -- or that the third-seeded Canadians were one accurate shot away from wrestling home-ice advantage from the second-seeded Lightning. Weise's game-winner past Tampa Bay goaltender Anders Lindback with 1:52 left in overtime Wednesday lifted Montreal to a 5-4 win over the Lightning at Tampa Bay Times Forum in an exhilarating series-opener.

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