The Montreal Canadiens will live to see another game after beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 in Game 4.
Facing elimination for the first time this postseason, the Canadiens found their offense early and often, chasing Ben Bishop and putting five goals on the scoreboard through 29:54 of the game.
Entering Game 4, Montreal hadn’t lost four games in a row all season and last scored five times in a game on Feb. 26 against Columbus. They had also dropped eight straight to the Lightning before Thursday night.
The Canadiens didn’t need long to open the scoring when Andrei Markov put one home 2:44 into the first period, finishing a chance set up by Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban. Six minutes later, Pacioretty netted his fourth of the postseason shorthanded after Montreal pressured Tampa’s power play unit in the offensive zone, forcing a turnover which led to the second goal.
Given how much offensive potential is within the Lightning lineup, a 2-0 lead certainly wasn’t safe, which is why Montreal used the second period to put the game entirely out of reach. David Desharnais, Jeff Petry and Brendan Gallagher scored in a span of 4:46 to give the Canadiens a 5-0 lead and turn Amalie Arena into a library.
Desharnais’ goal brought back shades of Pacioretty’s tally in Game 1 with a glove mishap by Bishop:
That goal would end Bishop’s night. His replacement, Andrei Vasilevskiy wouldn’t fare any better, allowing the Petry and Gallagher goals 15 seconds apart and a third period tally by Brandon Prust.
Before the game, Subban told NBCSN’s Joe Michelletti, “We have a another opportunity to take this back home, and I’m going to tell you something, if we do, it’s a different series.”
Subban and the Canadiens get that opportunity to prove it’s different now Saturday night in Game 5 down 3-1 in the series.
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