TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Lightning get their second chance to close out the Stanley Cup Final with the Canadiens Wednesday night in game five. They couldn’t get the sweep on Monday, so the series returns to Tampa for another chance to clinch back-to-back Stanley Cups– this time on their home ice.
With the finish line in their sights, so is better production on their power play. Without forward Alex Killorn, who’s recovering from a lower-body injury, the Lightning have gone 1-9 on their power play in games two, three, and four.
In game four, they were 0-5, including a 4-minute double minor at the end of regulation that carried into overtime. The Lightning had plenty of chances, but the Canadiens ultimately killed it and went on to win about two minutes later.
“I’m a big believer that a power play can give you momentum,” said Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper. “But the bottom line is that we’re probably not in this spot if it wasn’t for some of the games that PP helped us pull out. I think when you’ve raised expectations so high that there’s probably people out there that say, ‘Weber took a four (minute penalty), this is a foregone conclusion that they’re going to score on this power play.’ But that’s not the way it works. Before coming in, I think before we scored in game one, Montreal was on some unbelievable run of not giving up power-play goals. So it’s a really effective power play against a really effective PK. I think we’re both trying to navigate our way through to get an advantage.”
“That’s how it went,” said Lightning forward Brayden Point. “You try to do your best every game and some nights it goes your way and some nights it doesn’t. That’s why we have a whole team in there. The boys got us to overtime and we couldn’t close it out on the power play.”
In total in this Montreal series, the Lighting are just 2-12 on their power play, but as Cooper mentioned, they’re up against a very strong penality-killing team. However, with four games of film to watch now, the Bolts feel like they’re prepared to convert a few more in game five.
“We think we’ve found some holes and I’m sure they think they’ve fixed some things that they needed to fix,” Cooper said. “I think we’re having a different conversation if Point’s (shot) doesn’t hit the post and Hedman’s doesn’t hit the post. But there you go. That’s that game of inches. For that night it went their way and hopefully tonight it goes ours.”
In their previous series,’ the Lightning went 5-17 on the power play in seven games against the Islanders, 6-17 in five games against the Hurricanes, and 8-20 in a penalty-heavy six games against the Panthers.