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Canadiens vs Lightning Game 4: Canadiens Keys to Victory

When you’re on the brink of elimination, you dig a little deeper on each stride. The Habs were able to figure it out for Game 4.

Although only a handful of people had the pleasure of attending Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the entire province of Quebec had a memorable night. In the Montreal Canadiens’ 3-2 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Canadiens finally showed the Lightning what they can do.

In the Canadiens’ exceptional playoff run so far, they’ve been seen as the underdog in every series. They were able to crush the dreams of perhaps their biggest rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs, in Round 1. In the second round, they blew away the third-seed Winnipeg Jets, who had been in the race for First Place in the North Division most of the season. They went against the odds to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights in Round Three, and had many people believing they’d take the Stanley Cup from the reigning champions in the Final.

Related: Canadiens’ Carey Price Comes up Big in Game 4- Finally!

This dream — playing in the Stanley Cup Final — has been a nightmare so far for the Canadiens. Despite their best efforts, the Habs quickly found themselves on the brink of elimination, with a goose egg in their own win column. Needless to say, the Game 4 win could not have come at a better time. But, can they pull off the comeback?

Josh Anderson, for one, seemed determined to prove that the Montreal Canadiens are not done yet. It’s not just the fact that he had two goals, including the overtime winner. It’s the physical play and all-around attitude that Anderson displayed. On the unlikely chance that anyone out there was still skeptical about the Habs giving up Max Domi and a 3rd-Round pick for Anderson over the off-season, there won’t be anymore. Anderson has proven to be a true Power Forward- a rare and invaluable commodity in today’s NHL.

Anderson was certainly not the only Canadiens player playing with an extra edge tonight. After both the first and second periods, the two teams got mixed up whilst heading to the dressing rooms- so much so that it resulted in coincidental minors for both teams after the second period. We also saw good playoff intensity, with big hits and bigger bruises, just as the Finals should be.

The win for the Canadiens did not come without a bit of luck. Lightning stars Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each struck iron (really hard, if I might add). The slightest change in angle on either of those chances, and the Bolts would have won the Stanley Cup. Of course, Shea Weber also drilled the pipe, so the luck goes both ways.

Speaking of Shea Weber and luck, you couldn’t help but feel bad for the guy near the end of the third period. A complete accident resulted in blood spilling out of his opponent’s face, and he happened to be holding the culpable weapon. Weber has been chasing a Stanley Cup for a long time, and he must have been on the verge of tears knowing he’d have to sit there and watch his team defend against one of the most deadly Powerplay units in the League. We can only wonder what Weber, the Captain of the Canadiens, said in the locker room during the intermission. Of course he gave a solemn apology, but I’d bet he offered to pay for a round of drinks if the boys killed off his penalty for him. At any rate, they were successful.

And what would a Canadiens win be if we didn’t talk about Carey Price? Although many say he hasn’t been himself this series, he certainly made some big saves tonight. As usual, he wasn’t flashy (because he was always in position), but he was rock-solid all night. If Price can steal a road win for his teammates on Wednesday, the Habs are still in the conversation, and he’s in the Conn Smythe conversation.

Will the Lightning Win It at Home?

Although the Lightning would’ve liked to have gotten it done tonight, they might be relieved at the chance to win the cup on home ice this year. Last year, of course, they won it in the Edmonton Bubble, with no fans and only immediate family present. Even though they won the Stanley Cup, it wasn’t exactly what those guys had dreamed of their whole lives. 

Both teams will have a chance to prove what they’re made of in Tampa Wednesday night. Will Pat Maroon get his third ring in a row, or will the Habs live to fight another day? Either way, it’s going to be good.

Next: Canucks Have Made Nate Schmidt Available in Trade Talks

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