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Canadiens face long wait for next playoff opponent

Sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round of NHL playoffs means a long wait for the Montreal Canadiens.

Habs swept Lightning in opening round

Lightning centre Steven Stamkos (91) shakes hands with Canadiens goalie Carey Price after Montreal swept Tampa Bay Tuesday night. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round of NHL playoffs means a long wait for the Montreal Canadiens.

The Canadiens finished off a four-game sweep Tuesday night and may have a 10- or 11-day wait before starting their Eastern Conference semifinal against the winner of the Boston-Detroit series.

The first round is scheduled to end April 30, unless all series end in fewer than seven games.

Some wondered if the Canadiens' next series could start early if the Boston-Detroit series only goes five games, but an NHL spokesman said no.

Coach Michel Therrien gave his players Wednesday and Thursday off. They will resume skating Friday at their training facility in Brossard, Que.

There is a danger a team can get stale waiting around for the next series, but Therrien sees a benefit in giving some players a chance to recover from injuries.

"We're going to take some time to heal," Therrien said. "At this time of year guys are hurt and showed a lot of courage to play.

"On that side, it's going to be good. I'm not worried at all. We'll be well prepared, and the team that's going to play us is going to be well prepared because they know who they're going to face too."

The Canadiens should have forward Travis Moen back after missing the first round with a concussion. The club might also get forward Alex Galchenyuk back from a lower-body injury.

However, Therrien may be reluctant to make any changes to the four lines that were all productive against Tampa Bay.

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