Tampa Bay braces for stormy game five

Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price could be snapped up by Seattle Kraken in the Expansion Draft (PHOTO: NHL)

After plucking an overtime win on Monday, Montreal Canadiens are heading to Tampa Bay looking to resurrect their Stanley Cup hopes.

The 3-2 success in the extra period prevented a return to the cup final in 28 years from being a whitewash and now will head to Florida hoping to prolong the series longer.

The latest chapter comes amid the news Hurricane Elsa is heading for Tampa Bay and expected to make landfall any time soon, at the time of writing.

It prompted the Canadiens to travel early for the game, with NHL insisting the game is still going ahead, but are monitoring the situation.

Montreal coach Dominique Ducharme actually laughed when the prospect of the hurricane was put to him at a press conference, mindful of the adversity they’ve faced.

“It’s no surprise anymore,” Ducharme said. “Anything that happens right now and for a while, we just take it and look at it and say, ‘It’s probably our destiny.’

“It’s been crazy, but we’re a crazy bunch of guys in here.”

Ducharme was promoted to coach when Claude Julien was sacked in February then tested positive for COVID-19 on June 18, meaning a 14-day quarantine, where he missed six games, including the first two games of the Cup Final.

The virus impacted the Canadiens, when they had four regular-season games postponed for a week in late March when forwards Joel Armia and Jesperi Kotkaniemi were placed in NHL Covid protocol.

As a result, the Canadiens finished the season with 25 games in 43 days, but have continued to battle against the odds to contest this final, which hasn’t quite gone their way for the most part.

Josh Anderson’s overtime winner saw the Canadiens come from behind to take game four, narrowing the series to 3-1 and denying the Bolts a second consecutive cup triumph as they look to successfully defend their title from last year.

The Canadiens are attempting to join the 1942 Maple Leafs (against the Detroit Red Wings) as the only team to win the Stanley Cup after losing the first three games in a best-of-seven final.

But netminder Carey Price, a 2007 Stanley Cup winner with Anaheim Ducks, but part of the losing Dallas Stars team to Tampa Bay Lightning is taking a relaxed attitude.

“I think you look at the playoffs as a whole and there’s ups and downs and peaks and valleys, momentum shifts here, momentum shifts there,” he said. 

“You just have to be ready to play that next game. You know they’re going to be playing at their best. So you have to come out, you have to have energy, you have to be confident, you have to play to win and not to lose, and that’s kind of will be my message to the guys tomorrow.”

“It’s just hockey. Have fun, be prepared to work. But at the end of the day, it’s just hockey and have fun.”

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