From the Enemy Camp: “Montreal Looks for the Sweep”

The Bell Centre is the toughest place to play in all of the NHL according to a 2013 player poll.
The Bell Centre is the toughest place to play in all of the NHL according to a 2013 player poll.

On the front page of today’s Montreal Gazette there is a great deal of talk of sweeping Tampa Bay, down 0-3 in the series out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. All the Lightning has to do is win a pressure packed game in the toughest building in the NHL to accomplish that task.  

 The Canadiens aren’t taking anything for granted going into Game 4 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday at the Bell Centre  at 7 p.m. ET

Montreal leads the best-of-seven series 3-0, but the Canadiens haven’t swept a playoff series since 1993, when they took out the Buffalo Sabres in the second round.

“We understand that we haven’t done anything yet,” said defenceman Josh Gorges. “You need to win four games to win a series and we all know the fourth win is always the hardest. It’s a do-or-die situation for them and I expect them to be at their absolute best.”

While Gorges said the Canadiens have to play the same way they did in the first three games of the series, he noted that every game is different.

“We have to focus on the game coming up and we have to play a complete game and do all the little things well,” said Gorges. “We’ll look back on how the game went and move on from there.”

The series has produced some surprises. During the regular-season series, the Canadiens scored only four goals in four games. In the playoffs, the Canadiens are averaging four goals a game.

“I don’t know how to explain that,” said Gorges. “Both teams have a lot of speed and we’re both playing hard.

The Canadiens went through a season in which they had trouble scoring even-strength goals, but they have an 11-5 playoff edge over Tampa in 5-on-5 scoring.

And while eight players have scored at least one goal for the Canadiens, Max Pacioretty has been limited to one assist.

Coach Michel Therrien said he wasn’t concerned over Pacioretty’s lack of production. He noted that Pacioretty’s linemates, Thomas Vanek and David Desharnais, each have a goal and Pacioretty has 10 shots and numerous scoring chances.

The team’s No. 1 goal-scorer is Rene Bourque, who has three goals and a team-high 15 shots on goal. He was a healthy scratch for nine games during the regular season, but has come to life on a line with Lars Eller and Brian Gionta. MORE