MONTREAL – The screeching is the best part.
The NHL Mini Documentary Series Stanley Cup Quest reveals behind-the-scenes footage and mic moments from these intense playoff battles, and the screeching is almost always the best part. A refreshing splash of color to contrast the buttoned formality of Zoom’s daily conference.
In a particularly enjoyable moment of Friday’s episode, which collects footage from Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup final, Tampa Bay Lightning fourth player Patrick Maroon faces Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson, and ironically calls him a “tough guy” a couple of times. before hitting the well-compensated Anderson with the zinger:
“You have the same number of points as me, buddy. It’s embarrassing, ”Maroon says gleefully. “The same number of points as me! Haha!”
Even if Maroon’s claim isn’t exactly accurate (Maroon has three playoff points to Anderson’s four), each joke contains a grain of truth.
The Canadiens are being beaten 14-5 in three games in this slanted final, and Anderson is just one of Montreal’s many donut-bearing weapons on the roster.
So hard to come by are quality 5v5 opportunities that Montreal coach Dominique Ducharme opted instead to delve into power play work on Sunday in what threatens to be the club’s last practice of the season. .
“We needed to take that time to work on our power play. Sometimes during a round or towards the end of the year, it was difficult to do it because we didn’t have time. And if tomorrow we have two power games, we want to make the most of them ”, explained Ducharme.
“We cannot say that we have had a lot of production there.”
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So far, the whistles have been quiet in the series, with Tampa’s elite 5-on-4 group taking advantage of two of seven power plays. Montreal has a power hit in six attempts and has been operating at 20.4 percent in the postseason.
Ducharme replaced defender Erik Gustafasson at the top of the top unit in favor of Jeff Petry. Petry is gaining strength and confidence in her shot, shooting nine pucks at the net in the last two games.
“Have a positive attitude, have fun getting on this track every day and don’t hang your head,” said Petry. “We have a great challenge ahead of us. We have had a challenging year all year. Just go in and enjoy it every day has been the message. I think everyone was in a good mood today. “
As fans clamor for the return of Alexander Romanov, and Brett Kulak and Tomas Tatar remain options, Ducharme hinted that more lineup adjustments might be necessary for Monday’s Game 4.
“I’m not worried about putting any of our players in the lineup. They will be ready to play, ”Ducharme said. “For Gustafsson, we will see tomorrow. You saw the power play units today, and that’s what it will be tomorrow, but we’ll see for the rest of our lineup. “
Anderson maintains that the mood is “relaxed and confident” in the Habs’ locker room, even as they face the herculean task of winning four games in a row against a team that hasn’t lost four in a row since February 2020.
“We will do our best to stay in this and fly to Tampa on Tuesday,” Anderson said. “We have nothing to lose right now, so everyone will be ready for tomorrow night, I can tell you that. We are not done yet. “
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While the Canadiens insist they are relaxed and confident, the Lightning certainly looked that way during Sunday’s busy 30-minute option.
The practice session was peppered with happy screams and chants, playful squeaks and goal celebrations. Many of them came from Maroon, which he could repeat on Monday as some kind of working-class Michael Jordan.
Towards the end of practice, the nets were thrown to the blue lines for a miniature 3v3 scrimmage tournament.
As the Maroon line scored the winning goal, the Big Rig’s arms were extended into the air, where the Stanley Cups are held.
“I know our mentality is different when entering these clearance games, as [been] in the past, ”Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
“It’s about winning. It’s not about where you win. And that’s all that matters to us. “