May 12, 2015

Michael Clifford


Montreal/Tampa Bay Game 6, Ryan Callahan’s injury, Chris Kreider’s fantasy value, and thoughts on Anton Stralman.


After falling down in the series three games to zero, the Montreal Canadiens have an opportunity tonight to force a Game 7. All they need to do is go to Tampa Bay and get out with a win. They did take Game 4 in Tampa Bay by a score of 6-2, but in the regular season, the Habs were outscored 11-3 in two games at the Amalie Arena, being outshot by 24 in those two contests (though to be fair, that margin all came in one game).

The big news here is that Lightning forward Ryan Callahan had to undergo an emergency appendectomy and will be out for this series. Should Tampa Bay move on, he may be ready later in the Eastern Conference Final. That's speculation for another time, and I'll get back to Callahan eventually.

As I mentioned in a Ramblings last week, the Habs were due for a major shooting percentage correction. Montreal is starting to get back to normalcy at five-on-five (via War On Ice), and four even-strength goals in Game 4 certainly helped in that regard. The Habs are still shooting 3.3-percent on the power play, after shooting just shy of 12-percent in the regular season. Their movement and scoring opportunities with the man advantage looked much better in Game 5, and if that power play can reel off a couple of big games (as the shooting correction suggests), this could get dicey for the Lightning


I know Callahan hasn't produced for Tampa these playoffs (three assists and no goals in 12 games), but he did produce at a first line rate in the regular season; Callahan finished inside the top-90 in points per 60 minutes at both five-on-five and all situations (from Hockey Analysis). This is a loss for Tampa Bay, who will now likely turn to Jonathan Drouin, a guy that can't get coach Jon Cooper's trust.


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