SPORTS

Montreal Canadiens sticking to game plan despite Game 1 loss to Lightning

05/02/2015 04:05 EDT | Updated 05/02/2016 05:12 EDT
MONTREAL - The Canadiens are convinced they have the recipe for success.

Montreal may have lost Game 1 of its second round playoff series 2-1 in double overtime versus the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, but the Habs don't want to do anything different going forward.

Game 2 goes Sunday at the Bell Centre before the best-of-seven series heads to Tampa, Florida.

"We generated a lot of scoring chances yesterday," said head coach Michel Therrien after the Canadiens' morning skate on Saturday. "That's all you can ask. You have to work really hard and you have to stick to the plan. And that's what the guys did.

"We were well prepared to play that team. Our players were sharp. Tomorrow won't be any different."

The Canadiens were strong on the puck and created good opportunities throughout Friday's game. Montreal outshot the Lightning 44-35 and even hit a couple of posts early in the first period.

The Habs were repeatedly frustrated by Ben Bishop, however, who was shaky to start the encounter but steadied as the night wore on.

"We could have easily had four or five goals," said Devante Smith-Pelly, who was denied twice by Bishop. "We're around the net, we're getting it toward the net, we're doing everything right. It's just not going in."

Perhaps Bishop's best save came late in the second period when the Tampa goalie robbed Tomas Plekanec on a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush by stacking his pads and flashing the leather to preserve the scoreless draw.

"As long as we don't get discouraged and we keep going to those areas, we'll be fine," said Smith-Pelley.

The Canadiens are convinced sticking to their game plan — getting bodies in front of the net, obstructing Bishop's view and being strong on the puck — will lead to success in the series.

Montreal is on a bit of a scoring slump, though. The Canadiens have four goals in their last four playoff games and just 13 since the start of the post-season. Max Pacioretty scored his team's only goal on Friday.

But the Canadiens had great chances in Game 1 versus the Lightning and they hope the trend continues.

David Desharnais came an inch from giving Montreal the lead but his no-look shot rang off the iron to Bishop's left early in the first. Pacioretty hit the same post later in the period.

"One inch inside, and our offence is spectacular," said Therrien referring to the shots that hit the post. "It's all perception. If we continue playing with that determination, we'll right the ship."

The Habs will also need to unlock their power play, which went 0 for 3 on Friday. The team is 1 for 23 with the man advantage in these playoffs.

Down a man in the first period, Bishop made an improbable toe save to keep the puck from crossing the goal-line as Pacioretty poked away at it during a goalmouth scramble. Replay showed most of the puck — but not all of it — had entered the net.

"You need breaks in sports. An extra eighth of an inch and the puck goes in," said Therrien of Pacioretty's chance in the crease. "And everybody would be saying that our power play is back on track. There's a bit of hockey karma there."

Notes: The teams took a scoreless draw into the third period before Tyler Johnson put the Bolts ahead at 2:34. … Pacioretty sent the game to overtime on a fluke goal with five minutes remaining in the third. … Nikita Kucherov scored the winner in double overtime.

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