TAMPA – A few quick notes from today’s morning skate at Amalie Arena:
* Although the Lightning is up 2-0 on the Canadiens and has won all seven meetings this season, Tampa Bay doesn’t sound overconfident.
“We’ve got a good chance to take another step,” defenseman Anton Stralman said. “Don’t let it slip away.”
The Lightning expects Montreal to be desperate tonight, just as the Lightning was desperate when it faced an 0-2 deficit to the Canadiens in last year’s first round.
“We’ve been in that situation before,” center Steven Stamkos said. “You want to give your best effort. This is a huge game for them. I think we realize the magnitude of coming back in front of our home fans…We have to find a way to match it. It’s not going to be easy.”
* Stamkos said the Lightning will need to get more shots against Montreal goalie Carey Price than it did in Game 2. Tampa Bay scored on six of its 24 shots Sunday.
“We can’t expect that clip to continue against a goalie like that,” Stamkos said.
* Coach Jon Cooper and his players said what happens tonight will affect how they approach tomorrow’s Game 4 in the back-to-back situation. Cooper didn’t seem to mind the possibility of starting goalie Ben Bishop in both games; Bishop has only started back-to-back games once this season but would play Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in the American Hockey League.
“This won’t be new,” Cooper said.
Backup Andrei Vasilevskiy hasn’t played since March 31.
TAMPA – Montreal wing Brandon Prust apologized Tuesday for his comments directed toward official Brad Watson after Sunday’s Game 2.
“It was an embarrassment,” Prust said of his actions.
Prust was given 27 penalty minutes in the end of the Lightning’s 6-2 win Sunday, after tripping goalie Ben Bishop and getting in a fight with defenseman Braydon Coburn. Afterward, Prust said Watson provoked him and “tries to play God.”
“I regret what I said,” Prust said after Tuesday’s practice at Amalie Arena. “If I could go back and redo it, I would, but you can’t. We have to live with it and refocus on the road ahead.”
Prust publicly apologized to Watson and said what happened on the ice should have stayed there. He’s also privately apologized to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien.
“I think he did the right thing,” Therrien said of Prust’s apology.
Prust said he doesn’t expect the incident to carry over into Game 3 on Wednesday night.
“I hope it’s just an honest hockey game,” Prust said, “and we go back to business.”