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Thursday, April 6, 2017

NHL : Lightning Fight for Playoff Lives Against Atlantic-Leading Canadiens

It’s must-win territory for the Tampa Bay Lightning (39-30-10 SU, 40-39 ATS). They sit five points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the last wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference and have only three games left to play in the regular season. Not only will they need to win their remaining three games, they’ll also need some help from the Leafs, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators if they hope to make the postseason. Tampa Bay has been on a roll of late, going 5-1-1 over their last seven games, but they were shut out 4-0 on Tuesday night in a critical matchup against the Bruins, effectively taking them to the brink of elimination.

The Lightning will be in tough against the Montreal Canadiens (46-24-9 SU, 42-37 ATS), the league’s second-top money-earners with 18.22 units on the puckline. They’ll meet Friday at 7:30 PM ET. The Habs hold an 11-3-1 record over their last 15 games and have solidified home ice advantage through the first round of the playoffs. For the first time this season, the Habs have received offensive support from players other than Max Pacioretty; Canadiens forwards Paul Byron and Artturi Lehkonen have combined for 5 goals and 4 assists over the past five games. Look for a continued balanced attack as Montreal gears up for the playoffs.

Live odds and lines

NHL Odds: Montreal Looks to End Tampa’s Season on Friday

With their backs against the wall, the Tampa Bay Lightning (39-30-10) will attempt to bounce back after being shut out in a must-win game against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. The Bolts will need to reverse their fortunes against a Canadiens team that beat them 2-1 in overtime less than a week ago.

The Montreal Canadiens (46-24-9), meanwhile, have been cruising. They collected the most points in a month this past March (19), which resulted in their securing the Atlantic Division crown. Led by goaltender Carey Price (2.20 goals against average, .924 save percentage), the Canadiens have their eyes set on a long playoff run this spring.

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