The Montreal Canadiens swept the Tampa Bay Lightning 4 games to none in the first round series and are the first team to advance to the next round. When most people see sweep they think oh easy series win, but that’s not the case. Montreal out played Tampa for most of the series but, all but one game was decided by one goal and the first one went to overtime. The Lightning were in every game except for game 2.
Carey Price played pretty well except for maybe the first game but the good news for the Canadiens is he can play better. The power play went 2 for 13 which isn’t terrible but a couple more timely goals on the power play and this series isn’t even close. The penalty kill only killed 5 of 7 penalties which is a little alarming considering their penalty kill was 4th in the league this season. Andrei Markov didn’t register a point in the series but his power play partner P.K. Subban had 5 assists in the four games. The scoring was spread around the whole team with every player picking up at least a point with the exception of Markov and Francis Bouillon which is very good considering they only played 4 games.
The Canadiens looked pretty good but gave up leads a little too easily late in games. Except for game 2 the Canadiens let the Lightning back in the game in all 3 games at some point in the third. Of course its not like the Lightning are going to lay down and say here you go beat us, but when you have leads in the third you need to close those games out.
The bottom line is the Canadiens won and now get to sit back and wait for the second round either against the Boston Bruins or the Detroit Red Wings. The great thing about the playoffs is you only have to be better than the team you’re playing against and they know they’ll have to turn it up a notch if they want to knock off the Red Wings and or especially the Bruins.
Good news for the Canadiens is Max Pacioretty scored his first goal of the series in the 4th game and it was the winner with :43 seconds to go in the third. Pacioretty played well and had a lot of chances in this series with at least 4 breakaways but couldn’t get a goal. This is great news if you’re a Canadiens fan going into round two. Rene Bourque also had a great series scoring 3 goals and Daniel Briere was his usual playoff self scoring once and adding an assist on the game winning goal by Dale Weise in overtime in game one on a beautiful pass from behind the net.
The Canadiens took game one in overtime 5-4. The Canadiens dominated game 2 and won 4-1. They hung on in game 3 to win 3-2 and scored late to win 4-3 in game 4 after blowing a third period 3-1 lead.
The Canadiens out played Tampa for long stretches in this series but anytime Tampa pressed back they were able to get on the score sheet and make things tough for the Canadiens.
The Canadiens season series record against the Red Wings this season was 2-2. The season series against the Bruins was 3-1 with one of the Canadiens’ wins coming in the shootout.
With time to rest for the second round series the Canadiens should feel pretty good going into the next round and they have time to work on some small details to make life easier on themselves. I don’t think they care who they play but I do know they want the series to go 7 with lots of overtime.