Canadians reflect on Lightning’s ‘guts’ ahead of Stanley Cup final – .

Canadians reflect on Lightning’s ‘guts’ ahead of Stanley Cup final – .

Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and winger Nikita Kucherov will be some of the players to watch in Monday’s game opener.

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Corey Perry knows what to expect when the Canadiens face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final Monday (8 p.m., CBC, SN, TVA Sports, TSN-690 Radio, 98.5 FM) .

“It’s a hell of a hockey team. I mean, pretty much the same team as last year, ”said Perry, who was with the Dallas Stars when they lost to the Lightning in the Cup last summer in the Edmonton bubble. “It will be a good test for us, but we are up to the challenge.

“Personally, I don’t think there is revenge or anything,” Perry added. “It’s a different year. It’s a different team. It is a new ordeal. We’ll see what happens. “

The Lightning have always been known as an explosive team, but they added courage last year when they picked up Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow and defenseman David Savard at the trade deadline. The result is a team that can match Montreal’s depth.

“You look up and down their lineup, you can start with their goalkeeper (Andrei Vasilevskiy); he’s a world class goalie, ”said Perry. “And then you probably have one of the best defensemen in the league in (Victor) Hedman. And the list continues. (Nikita) Kucherov, (Steven) Stamkos. You can talk about it all day. But they added that grain to the deadline last year and kind of took off.

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Vasilevskiy comes off a 1-0 win over the New York Islanders in Game 7 of their semifinal on Friday, and he has a 1.99 goals-against average and .936 save percentage. It’s a little better than Carey Price (2.02 goals against average and 0.934 save percentage).

Perry and Price have been teammates on several international teams, including the Canadian Olympic gold medalist team in 2014.

“These are just two week tournaments. You play five, six, seven games, whatever, but you could see in that time what kind of person he was, what kind of character he has, ”Perry said. ” And then, during this season, you really get to know him. He’s a calm guy but goes about his business. He has his feet on the ground. He’s a great person. If you have time to talk to him, he will take the time to talk to you and he will talk to you about whatever you want to talk about. You can’t say enough about him right now.

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The Canadians lead the playoffs with a 93.5% penalty kill, but Perry said the goal will be to stay out of the penalty box.

“Everyone knows what their power play looks like and how they can move the puck, the different options they have,” said Perry. “It’s a way of limiting their chances. But on the other hand, you have to play well defensively. You have to check it out. You have to be in a good position. You have to know who is on the ice.

“You know their D is going to jump in, they’re going to push the puck on the ice,” added Perry. “It’s no different than 95 percent of the other teams in the league. Every night you need to be on your toes and be ready to play. You take a break and that could make the difference in this game. “

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Brendan Gallagher also has playoff experience against the Lightning.

“I beat them in the playoffs, lost to them in the playoffs and both times the margin between winning and losing was so slim, and you know the difference,” said Gallagher. “From the first game we have to make sure we are sharp. “

Gallagher, Phil Danault and Artturi Lehkonen’s stop line is tasked with stopping Nikita Kucherov, who is the playoffs leading scorer after missing the entire regular season with hip surgery.

“It’s a fun challenge to take on,” said Gallagher. “You plan to play probably the hottest player in the league right now. He’s a guy who shows up in big games. His teammates aren’t too bad either. It will be hard work. But the way you do it doesn’t change: frustrate them, face them, try to take their time and space. Understand that these are talented players who are going to make the games.

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