The Tampa Bay Lightning are battling the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic division, and the Canadiens face both Florida teams this week – starting tonight in Tampa.
With new goaltender Charlie Lindgren backing up Mike Condon, the Habs play in Tampa for the last time this season.
Game time is at 7:30 p.m. at the Amalie Arena.
1. Race to 30! Who cares? (Certainly not Pacioretty.)
Captain Max Pacioretty and his new(ish) centreman Alex Galchenyuk are both on pace to hit 30 goals this season.
With little to play for, this could be a fun rivalry between the two teammates, but when asked about it after the game on Tuesday, Pacioretty downplayed the battle.
"You guys love asking me that, huh? No... I want to set Chucky up, and he wants to set me, and obviously competition is a good thing, but we want each other to have success."
Both players currently have 27 goals and both have a tendency to score in pairs. Their line with Paul Byron had success against Detroit this week.
We'll see if that chemistry continues tonight at Amalie Arena.
2. Injured parties
The Habs are carting five injured players to Florida for games against the Lightning tonight, then the Panthers on Saturday.
Carey Price skated with his teammates this morning for the first time since he went down Nov. 25.
It will be new acquisition Charlie Lindgren who backs up Mike Condon tonight.
If we see Lindgren on the ice before the end of the season, we'll be looking at one of the top goalies coming out of the NCAA.
Lindgren is a finalist for the Mike Richter Award, given to the top goaltender, and he's the National College Hockey Conference (NCHC) Goaltender of the Year – after setting the record for most wins in St. Cloud State's Division I history.
And he has pretty good taste in goaltenders.
3. Are Stamkos days in Tampa numbered?
Who knows where impending free agent Steve Stamkos will be playing next season?
But we could be watching his final days under the Lightning bolts at Amalie Arena.
Stamos is going to be contract-free as of July 1 but has said all along he wants to win a championship in Tampa. And he is playing like it.
Stamos has 12 points in his last 8 games, and while Pacioretty and Galchenyuk race to 30, Stamkos is closing in on the fifth 40-goal season of his career.