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Lightning’s power play has power, so does Steven Stamkos

in Apolitical/Sports/The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

How easy is it getting for the Tampa Bay Lightning in its playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens?

Why, it’s getting so easy that even Steven Stamkos is scoring.

The Lightning jumped to a commanding 2-0 lead in its series against Montreal with a 6-2 bashing of the Canadiens and highly respected goaltender Carey Price Sunday night. The Bolts would have to lose four of the next five games not to win this series.

Everything went the way of the Bolts in this game. Even Stamkos, who had been stuffed in his first eight playoff games this year, put one in the net on a breakaway to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead it would never give up. For Stamkos, long a stranger to the net, it was “a relief” to get onto the boards. Nikita Kucherov, who also started slowly in these playoffs, scored twice to lead Tampa Bay.

Also scoring for the Lightning was Valtteri Filppula, Victor Hedman and J.T. Brown. Goaltender Ben Bishop stopped 27 of 29 shots, outplaying Price for the second straight game. Price stopped only 18 of the 24 shots he faced, an embarrassing .750 save percentage. Remember, this is a player who has been discussed as the league MVP this year.

For the Lightning, the much-discussed power play finally found a little power. It scored four times after going 0-for-21 over the previous six games. It scored on half of its opportunities.

The Canadiens swept the Lightning in four straight in last year’s playoffs, but this year, Tampa Bay was 5-0 in the regular season and is now 2-0 in the playoffs. The teams play in Tampa on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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