In a fast paced, ping pong style game that saw top stars explode, flashes of brilliant hockey followed immediately by serious errors, and unsung heroes rise to the occasion, it’s hard to believe this was only game one of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. If this is any suggestion of the future – WOW!
Both the Habs and the Bolts went into this series literally in a dead heat in regards to skill, speed, and determination, and most people believe it’s one of the tighter match-ups for the opening round of the Playoffs. Neither team disappointed as far as that thought goes. At least not as far as the scoring went.
But there were areas that were completely mismatched between these teams, and they can’t be ignored heading into the remainder of this series.
The shots on goal count will most definitely be a topic of discussion on both sides of the fence, and this will be a happy discussion for head coach Michel Therrien. La Flanelle severely outshot the Lightning 43-25, with the majority of Tampa’s shots coming in the third period and overtime.
Yet despite seeing very little action, Carey Price can not be happy allowing 4 goals on only 25 shots (.840 SV%). Granted, they were not all on him as far as blame goes. Defensive errors and giveaways were what allowed a couple of those goals to be scored. But even though – as usual – Price showed moments of brilliance, he wasn’t in his best form.
The giveaway discussion will be a team discussion for both squads. Before heading into overtime, four of the eight goals scored by both teams were the result of giveaways. Two on each team. You can’t expect to win hockey at this level allowing that many giveaways to your opposition.
The biggest black hole in the Canadiens game tonight was in the faceoff circle. They managed to win only about 25% of the puck drops, and even when winning the draw, poor player positioning often resulted in le Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge losing possession right away. There will have to be a substantial increase in this area of their game to allow for better success.
Despite all of that, Montreal held off a very powerful team, and poured on the pressure in OT allowing unlikely hero Dale Weise to open himself up in front of Lindback to top shelf the game winning goal.
Also on the scorecard for the Habs were Brian Gionta, Lars Eller, Thomas Vanek, and Tomas Plekanec.
Scorers for Tampa were Killorn, Stamkos (2), and Kucherov.
Both teams will get back to work tomorrow in preparation for Friday nights game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Pregame is on CBC at 18h30 followed by puck drop shortly after 19h00.
Join us on Twitter @BleedBBR for live in-game Tweeting.