There were so many Montreal Canadiens who had big nights in their 4-1 win on Friday to snatch back-to-back road victories and head home with a 2-0 first-round series lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Canadiens goalkeeper Carey Price was at his best and only a late-game goal from Teddy Purcell prohibited the cool customer from earning his his fourth career Stanley Cup playoff shutout.
Max Pacioretty seemed to have the puck the entire game. Rene Bourque made a dandy move to evade a poke check from Lightning goalie Anders Lindback to score the first of two goals to snap out of his late-season slump.
David Desharnais was solid on the draw and one of his nine faceoff wins resulted in his own power-play goal, a redirect for his first career playoff goal. Desharnais' goal snapped a nine-game drought and 0-27 run in man-advantage situations for the Canadiens.
P.K. Subban also was ever-present. It was his slap pass that Desharnais scored on. It was his clearing pass that Thomas Vanek corralled to nicely advance up to Bourque for his first goal.
Subban was staring down Lightning players, yelling back at Canadiens assistant coach J.J. Daigneault, and mixing it up with his old minor-hockey buddy, Steven Stamkos, whenever the chance presented itself on Friday.
Subban and his Montreal defence partner Josh Gorges had most of the shifts against Stamkos, an assignment Subban relished.
"I love playing against him," Subban said in between Games 1 and 2. "I like making him frustrated, and I'm sure he'll like to score on me. But the history that we have of playing each other, it's been back and forth. When I'm on the ice, I'm sure he knows I'm out there, and I know he's out there."
Stamkos scored twice in the series opener, a 5-4 overtime win for Montreal. He missed 45 games with a broken leg and still managed to score a remarkable 25 times in 37 games in the 2013-14 campaign.
With Lightning goalie Ben Bishop on the sidelines with an elbow injury and dependable rookie Ondrej Palat out of action in Game 2 with an upper body ailment, Stamkos has to be at his dominant best. But Subban and his teammates took control of this game with some solid forechecking and held Stamkos to just four shots on goal.
Subban, Stamkos go back to novice
If there is anybody who knows how good Stamkos can perform, it's Subban. The two go all the way back to when they were novices and played together for the North York Canadiens. They later butted heads in the OHL and combined to help Canada win gold at the 2008 world junior championship in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
"That guy, as far as I'm concerned, he's probably the best goal scorer in the league," Subban said. "Good players like him they find ways to be invisible on the ice, and they appear when they have to appear. And players like Stamkos, [Sidney] Crosby and [John] Tavares, they have that ability to disappear and then you're looking over your shoulder, and next thing you know the puck's between your legs and he's tapping it in back door."
With his two assists and his physical play, Subban was not invisible on Good Friday. Cameras even caught him jawing with Daigneault as he came back to the bench, and Subban had to be settled down by Andrei Markov and Francis Bouillon.
But that incident aside, his contributions on the ice were massive and the Habs need him to continue to be a positive factor to keep the Lightning at bay.
"Nobody likes to be suffocated," Subban said. "It's pretty frustrating if you got a bag over your head and you can't breathe."
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