Apr 16, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Montreal Canadiens left wing Thomas Vanek (20) skates with the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo (6) defends during the third period in game one of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Montreal Canadiens defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens Have Huge Chance To Finish Lightning With Ben Bishop, Sami Salo, Radko Gudas Out For Game Four

Apr 20, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) and center Daniel Briere (48) battle for the puck with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas (7) during the second period in the game three of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been on the wrong end of the injury bug since the playoffs began, while the Montreal Canadiens have remained healthy.

Potential Vezina Trophy nominee Ben Bishop has missed the entire series with an elbow injury and left the crease duties to number two goaltender Anders Lindback. Lindback has been good but not great in the series, allowing questionable goals in all three games, but also making several incredible saves along the way.

In game three, the Lightning were without veteran defenseman Sami Salo, who was a late scratch with injury, and will remain out of the lineup for game four as well.

Tonight, another starting defenseman is out, and this time is it heavy hitting defender Radko Gudas. Salo and Gudas both play the right side, which now leaves Tampa Bay fairly thin on the side of the ice Max Pacioretty and Rene Bourque will be attacking.

Michael Kostka will return to the Lightning lineup, and Keith Aulie will make his playoff debut with the series on the line. Incredibly, Aulie is the 12th Lightning player to make their NHL postseason debut in this series.

The Lightning have decided to dress seven defenseman in the two games in Montreal, but it is still noteworthy that they have now used nine different blueliners in the first four games of the series.

This is a huge opportunity for the Canadiens to take advantage of a depleted Tampa Bay roster, and finish them off tonight on home ice. The longer the Habs allow this series to go, the tougher it will be to knock out the Lightning, as they could get several healthy bodies back in the near future.

The Canadiens on the other hand, have been extremely healthy this series, with just Alex Galchenyuk and Travis Moen missing time, and both due back in the next few weeks.

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