SPORTS

Goalies, goal-scoring keys as Canadiens prepare to face Lightning

04/30/2015 03:21 EDT | Updated 08/08/2015 09:59 EDT
MONTREAL - The Montreal Canadiens face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the NHL playoffs. Here are five keys to the series.

1. Goaltending: Carey Price is a candidate for the Hart Trophy after a spectacular season that saw him lead the league in wins, goals-against average and save percentage. He ended the first round with a 43-save shutout against Ottawa. He is Montreal's backbone. But the Lightning's Ben Bishop, who missed last year's sweep by Montreal due to injury, is also coming off a series-ending shutout of Detroit. In 14 career games against Montreal, Bishop is 10-1-2 with a 1.53 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.

2. Double threat: While Detroit managed to hold Steven Stamkos to three assists in seven games, the big forward had five goals in as many games against Montreal in the regular season. But if the Canadiens key on Stamkos, they still need to stop the Triplets — Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov — who combined for 13 points.

3. Top pairing: P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov play big minutes for the Canadiens and play a huge role in the team's success. Subban led Montreal with four points against Ottawa but Markov struggled in that series. Against Tampa Bay this season, Subban had two points and was minus-4 while Markov had two and was minus-3. The Bolts top defenceman Victor Hedman had six points against the Canadiens.

4. Max factor: The Canadiens are a low-scoring team, so it helps a lot if 37-goal scorer Max Pacioretty is in top form. He missed the final two games of the regular season and the playoff opener with a concussion, and only started looking himself again in Game 6 against Ottawa. A sharp, aggressive Pacioretty can make a difference.

5. Power play: A saw-off. The Canadiens went 1- for-20 with the man advantage against Ottawa after finishing 23rd overall in that category in the regular season. The Bolts went 2-for-30 against Detroit. Both are due for a breakthrough.

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