Montreal left winger Max Pacioretty scored a power-play goal with
42.6 seconds remaining in the third period as the Canadiens
completed their first series sweep since 1993 with a 4-3 win over
Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Montreal, which will face the winner of the Boston-Detroit series in
the second round, swept Buffalo in the second round in 1993 and went
on to win its 24th and most recent Stanley Cup.
Canadiens center Daniel Briere, who opened the scoring with his
first Montreal playoff goal 2:24 into the first period, recalled
watching that series while he was growing up.
"I didn't know it was the last time," Briere said. "I was a little
surprised about that. It's a pretty cool tidbit."
Pacioretty pushed right winger Thomas Vanek's shot between Lightning
goalie Kristers Gudlevskis pads for the winner after Tampa Bay
forward Cedric Paquette was called for tripping left winger Michael
Bournival with 2:11 remaining.
"I thought the refs did a great job of putting the whistles away in
the third, and then a penalty like that, 200 feet from our net, it
doesn't result really in a scoring chance, I don't think," Lightning
captain Steven Stamkos said. "I know they were tangled up. Their guy
was kind of holding our guy down and he gives him a little — was it
a trip? Yeah, probably, but the way things were going you probably
don't expect that to be called, so it's tough.
"You learn from those situations. You never know what's going to be
called. It's tough to be in that situation but it is a tough way to
lose a game."
Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 20 saves.
The Lightning swept the Canadiens in the only previous playoff
meeting between the two Atlantic Division opponents in the second
round in 2004, when Tampa Bay went on to win its first and only Cup
Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman and Lightning center Tyler
Johnson scored 3:02 apart early in the third period to draw the
Lightning even at 3-3.
"We have character. We're never going to quit, that's our attitude,"
Stamkos said. "That was our focus in between the periods was to give
ourselves a chance and we did, so we're proud of that, but it's a
little bit of a case of too little, too late. We needed to play with
that urgency throughout the whole series, and we found out why it is
tough to win in these playoffs."
Hedman cut the deficit to 3-2 at 3:29 with his first goal in 22
career playoff games. Johnson tied it with his first playoff goal at
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That's when Canadiens coach Michel Therrien used his timeout.
"We could smell the next round and we got a little too passive and
we were back on our heels," Pacioretty said. "They made a great
push. They had nothing to lose and they played some great hockey and
they had a lot of players step up, but that timeout calmed us down a
lot and we got back to our game."
Montreal had taken a 2-0 lead when center Lars Eller scored his
second goal of the series at 15:21 of the first period.
Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat took advantage of a careless
turnover by Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emeline to score a
short-handed goal 4:32 into the second.
Right winger Brendan Gallagher scored for a third straight game at
5:42 to restore Montreal's two-goal lead at 3-1 and chase Tampa Bay
starting goalie Anders Lindback from the net.
Lightning backup goalie Gudlevskis made 16 saves in his playoff
debut after taking over for Lindback, who allowed three goals while
stopping 17 of 20 shots.
NOTES: The Lightning were swept for the first time in 13 playoff
series. ... Lightning G Kristers Gudlevskis was playing for Latvia
in the 2014 Sochi Olympics when he faced Canadiens G Carey Price,
who led Canada to a 2-1 quarterfinal win on its way to winning the
gold medal. Gudlevskis made 55 saves in the loss. ... Tampa Bay D
Sami Salo missed his second game in a row because of an upper-body
injury. ... Canadiens C Daniel Briere's first-period goal was his
51st in 112 playoff games.
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