Defeat defeat defending champions look to Game 5 | Sports


TAMPA, Fla – It was no coincidence. Montreal 5-foot-9 forward Brendan Gallagher continued past Tampa Bay 6-foot-6 defenseman Victor Hedman after the first period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, pushing him aside and moving the linesmen . of how to continue the altercation.

The Canadians still look out of place behind the Lightning 3-1, but they ultimately showed fire by avoiding elimination and forcing a Game 5.

“It’s part of our game,” coach Dominique Ducharme said on Tuesday. “Maybe we’ve taken it to another level… but if you watch us play all year, and even more so in the playoffs, that’s part of our game.”

The Lightning have their next chance Wednesday night to take out the fiery Canadians and lift the Stanley Cup for the second time in 10 months. The NHL and teams are monitoring the track of a tropical storm that has a potential hurricane to strike over the west coast of Florida.

“We will continue to monitor and make a call when we need to,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press in an email. “We have some flexibility. “

After losing in overtime to spoil the first chance to win, Tampa Bay is determined to finish the job at the next opportunity.

“It’s tough enough to beat a team, let alone knock them out in four, and we’re in the Stanley Cup final,” said coach Jon Cooper. “It’s two good hockey teams going head-to-head, and the series was supposed to last over four games.”

The Canadiens made sure of that thanks to overtime winner Josh Anderson on Monday night. Even though they weren’t the best team, they were definitely the aggressors.

It meant hammering Lightning stars Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point and pushing him after play was stopped. It’s about the mark for Montreal and a key to winning this deep in the playoffs.

“We talked about exhausting the teams,” said veteran winger Corey Perry. “Every night you have to keep doing the little things: keep pushing the puck deep, hitting the body. It takes a toll on guys.

It’s a toll the Lightning can’t afford to pay even with a clear advantage in the series. Several players are being assaulted and it is in their best interest to try to wrap up this series before attrition builds up.

The Tampa Bay players also want to stay away from post-whistle shenanigans that only serve to motivate the Canadiens underdogs.

“I think we have to stay out of this stuff,” center Anthony Cirelli said. “It’s two physical teams that are tackling it. It’s the Stanley Cup final. So I think the two teams are going to fight and we should be ready and we have to go further. “

It means going back to the style that allowed the Lightning to advance to the final and lead them 3-0. After dominating the Canadiens and losing, they have no intention of giving up their game plan entirely.

“We stick to our process, the way we always do our business,” said defenseman Ryan McDonagh. “Any game, whether you win or lose, you like parts of it, you don’t like parts of it, you look at the things you get better at and go from there. “

The Canadiens would like to avoid another eight-minute drought early in a game and can’t count on Carey Price to get them out of another bad start. An early Lightning goal with the Cup in a building filled with 17,000 Lightning fans would be a bad recipe for Montreal.

Perry understands this task better than anyone. He played for the Dallas Stars last year when they avoided double-overtime elimination against Tampa Bay before losing the series in Game 6.

The 36-year-old plans to tell his teammates to be confident and “play to win, not lose” as a loss gives the Lightning the championship they’ve worked for.

“Have fun, be ready but work,” Perry said. “You look at the playoffs as a whole and there are ups and downs and peaks and valleys, momentum changes here, momentum changes there. You just have to be ready to play that next game. You know they are going to perform at their best.

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