Boucher back in Montreal as Habs face Lightning
LIGHTNING (1-0-0) at CANADIENS (1-1-0)
TV -- RDS (HD), SUN (HD)
Season series --
This is the first of four games between the two clubs. The Lightning and the Canadiens split last season's series. Martin St. Louis had a point per game for Tampa Bay, while Scott Gomez
had 5 points throughout the series for Montreal.
Big story --
Canadiens and Lightning games are always ones of great excitement, especially when Montreal natives Vincent Lecavalier and St. Louis come home to display their scoring touch. This season, Montreal fans will also be able to greet Guy Boucher, an individual who knows the Canadiens very well. The new Tampa Bay coach held the same position last season for Montreal's AHL team, the Hamilton Bulldogs. The Lightning also counts among its staff two of Boucher's assistant coaches from Hamilton and Julien Brisebois, Tampa's assistant GM and GM of the Norfolk Admirals, spent the previous nine years with the Habs.
"I watched every (Canadiens) game, whether it was live or a few hours after, so definitely I know the players a lot," Boucher told NHL.com. "I have been looking at them on video now and they look even better than last year. I think they have more drive and I think they're going to be a very hard team to beat.
"I don't want to make it seem bigger than it is. It's a special day, but it has to be business. It's very important to not send out the vibe of too much emotion on my players."
Tampa Bay opened its season in style on Saturday with a commanding 5-3 win over the Thrashers. Steven Stamkos scored twice, both on tips, while Lecavalier, Steve Downie and Dominic Moore also found the back of the net. Moore signed with the Lightning this summer as a free agent, but he too is familiar with Montreal, as he suited up for the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge last season.
Goaltender Mike Smith finished the night with 27 saves, but Dan Ellis could very well get the start on Wednesday as Tampa will be playing back-to-back games, facing the Flyers on Thursday.
"He doesn't try to get the fancy goals," Boucher said of Stamkos' two goals on Saturday night. "He battles in there."
The Canadiens continue to be a thorn in the side of the Penguins, carrying over from last season’s second-round series, with a 3-2 win on Saturday night. Mike Cammalleri
and Gomez scored in the final 2:12 of the game to give the Habs the victory. Cammalleri, fresh from his one-game suspension, also scored in the first period.
played exceptionally well, making 36 saves.
"Carey was really good, but you know what? We expect him to be that way," Cammalleri said. "I don't think that was anything out of the ordinary for him -- that's Carey Price
. I loved his body language, he made some game-winning saves throughout the game, so well done by him."
Who's hot -- Jeff Halpern
has had a point in each of the first two games, but it's safe to say that with his playoff exploits from last season, Cammalleri is Montreal's hottest commodity right now. … The same can be said of Tampa's Stamkos -- with his two goals on Saturday, there is little doubt that he will be slowing down any time soon.
Injury report --
Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund is expected to miss a couple of weeks with right knee inflammation. … Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik
(knee) will be back in the lineup Wednesday, while Andrei Markov
(right ACL surgery) still needs a bit more time to recover. Markov is expected to be back this month, though, and has been practicing with the team.
Stat pack --
Lecavalier seems to love scoring against his favorite childhood team. In his last 10 games against Montreal, the Lightning captain has tallied 4 goals and 8 assists.
Puck drop --
"Just like Pittsburgh, they have a lot of offensive weapons and we have to be on our toes. Everyone on the team likes this type of challenge. When everyone has to be at their best, that’s when games really get interesting." -- Price on playing the Lightning in Wednesday's home opener.