Tuesday night in Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida one of the best games so far in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs will probably happen. The Montreal Canadiens are putting pressure on Tampa Bay Lightning for a Game 7 if they can win Game 6, as Carey Price finds his groove and the Habs are seeing themselves coming back from an almost impossible 3-0 deficit. Momentum seens to be swinging to Montreal’s side as they claw back against the Tampa Bay Lightning to make it 3-2. Whichever team has the advantage is now a matter of opinion.
“If we could’ve started the series saying we’re up 3-2 to play an elimination game here at home, I think no matter who had the momentum going into the game, we would’ve loved that opportunity,” Lightning forward Brendan Morrow said.
The Canadiens will work hard to take that opportunity away from the Lightning by playing a strong Game 6. They are still alive because they have won two straight and are looking to make it three. Montreal Coach Michel Therrien believes strongly that his team is moving in right direction after what he thinks was dominating play in the past three games.
“We’re reacting with confidence that we’ll be able to accomplish what we’re supposed to do every game,” Therrien told media on Sunday. “I know our team’s going to be well-prepared, and the only thing we’re looking for is Game 7 in Montreal.”
Tampa has missed two chances to eliminate the Habs. Now at home, the challenge will much harder as they face the surging Habs who are beaming with confidence. A week ago they were looking at a sweep, now they’re trying to avoid going back to Bell Centre.
“I’m excited the position that we’re in.” – defenceman Victor Hedman
In the meantime, Carey Price found his groove. He stopped 46 of 49 shots in elimination Games 4 and 5 and now has a .938 save percentage after floating under .900 in his first eight matchups against Tampa Bay this season.
“We’ve had success against Carey Price,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “So he, to us, is not the mental block just because we’ve played them so many times in the last couple years and we look back and his numbers against the Tampa Bay Lightning are very pedestrian compared to the rest of the teams.”
Price has played very well at the Bell Centre but not so well as to steal a game in this series like he did in Game 6 against the Ottawa Senators. He stopped all 43 shots to make sure the Habs and Senators didn’t get to a Game 7.
“I think we have all the trust we need in Carey the whole season,” Habs forward Lars Eller said. “We’re confident that he’s going to give us a chance to win every game, and I’m sure he’s going to do that again.”
Price will look to get Montreal in a Game 7 and the Lightning’s Ben Bishop will battle to get the Lightning into the Eastern Conference final. Bishop has also been just as good as Price, with the exception of allowing three goals on 14 shots in Game 4, he has been solid for the majority of the series. Morrow said the onus is on him and his teammates to turn up the heat on Price.
“The Canadiens, they’re doing a great job of putting pressure on Bish and making life miserable for him, and we need to do the same for Carey,” Lightning forward Brendan Morrow said. “He’s made some big saves, timely saves, for that team. I think we’ve been guilty of making it a little bit too easy for him, as well.”
Morrow’s teammate Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman told media, “We’re up 3-2, and I’d rather take that than being down 3-2, going into our building. It really doesn’t matter how you get there. I think it’s a new game come Tuesday. I’m excited the position that we’re in.”
So are we and that why we think the Lightning will be able to close out this series at home and put the pesky Habs behind them.