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This time, Tampa will totally try to not hand Montreal the win

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy
Montreal Canadiens center Lars Eller (81), of Denmark, cuts around Tampa Bay Lightning center Nate Thompson (44) just before scoring during the third period of Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in Tampa, Fla
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Montreal Canadiens center Lars Eller (81), of Denmark, cuts around Tampa Bay Lightning center Nate Thompson (44) just before scoring during the third period of Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Game 1 of the divisional semifinal series between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning was a nail-biter: a 5-4 win in overtime for the Habs on a Dale Weise goal.

But this was your proverbial “closer on the scoreboard than it actually was” kind of game, because Montreal dominated them in shots on goal (44-25) and possession (60 percent to 40 percent in corsi close, i.e. corsi in a 1-goal game). To those ends, it was a blowout.

Check out this shot attempt chart from Extra Skater:

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Shot Chart Lightning - Extra Skater

And then check out what it looked like in their previous meeting on April 1.

So yeah, the Canadiens controlled this one.

The question then becomes “why?” As in, why did the 10th best team in the league in puck possession when the score was close in the regular season get dominated by the 26th-best team in that metric in Game 1?

Jon Cooper, coach of the Lightning, told the Tampa Times that his team can’t play into the hands of the Canadiens in Friday night’s Game 2.

"I don't think our D was moving (the puck) fast enough and I don't think our forwards were helping out our D," Cooper said. "Our forwards have to find a way to get back a little harder and fight their way back so we can start going up ice instead of taking pucks while we're coming back. I think we played right into Montreal's game plan. We're a puck-moving team. We're fast. We've got speed and we can control it. I don't think we did that."

No, they didn’t, and they’ll need to against a Habs team that’s looking to get an inexperienced Tampa team at Bell Centre, staring at a 0-2 hole.

 

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