Mon, 17 Jan 2022

Young line to lead Lightning against struggling Canadiens

Field Level Media
07 Dec 2021, 04:19 GMT+10

Boris Katchouk finally is part of the depth scoring the Tampa Bay Lightning have been seeking.

In the middle of a five-game road trip, the rookie left wing and the Lightning will make their only stop this season in Montreal on Tuesday night, facing the Canadiens for the first time in a rematch oflast season's Stanley Cup Final.

Playing on the "Kid Line," comprised of second-year center Ross Colton and rookie right wing Taylor Raddysh, Katchouk saw his long-awaited first NHL goal finally manifest itself in Philadelphia on Sunday.

In his club's 10th straight win over the Flyers, the Waterloo, Ontario, native cleaned up a rebound around Philadelphia's Carter Hart, casually tapping in his first marker.

The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Katchouk showed no expression after finding the net.

"I may not have shown it, but it was really good," he said. "It's cool to cherish that with those guys."

On a club missing elite goal producers Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, Katchouk, Colton and Raddysh have had difficulties with the puck on their sticks and in prime position to score for the Lightning, who are 9-2-1 in their past 12 games.

But it's not all about scoring for that line -- and scoring was easy to come by Sunday.

In the third encounter between the Eastern Conference foes, Tampa Bay rolled it up in a 7-1 rout -- the 1,000th victory in franchise history.

The Lightning finished the season series with a 3-0 mark against the Flyers, outscoring them 15-4 and having their most difficulty in a 4-3 shootout win on Nov. 18.

They found an easy mark in Philadelphia: The Flyers fell to 0-6-2 in their past eight contests.

"It's OK if we don't score," Katchouk said of his line. "We're out there to create some energy, create some momentum for the other lines. It's a bonus if we score, too."

Despite losing 4-3 in overtime Saturday night in Nashville, Montreal finds hope that one of its key scorers, Nick Suzuki, is back on track.

The smallish forward scored a monumental power-play goal in the second period to tie the game at 1.

The tally broke a 10-game streak without a goal for Suzuki, 22, who found the net 15 times in 56 games last season to help the Canadiens proceed to the final round against Tampa Bay.

Montreal failed to hoist its first Cup since 1993 -- dropping that series in five games -- but getting Suzuki back to his old form will go a long way toward succeeding after a poor start.

The storied club has won just six times in 26 matches and has not recorded back-to-back triumphs so far.

His tally also broke an 0-for-15 road skid with the man advantage.

"Collectively as a group, I (think) we're headed in the right direction in the last few games," Suzuki said. "I think we've been playing a lot better and the wins will come through."

Still, Montreal is 3-9-3 in its previous 15 matches.

Sharpshooter Mike Hoffman returned Saturday after being sidelined with an upper-body injury since Nov. 13.

The winger has four goals and seven points in 14 games.

"Obviously, it's been a tough year. It's not very easy to come back to the rink the next day with a positive mindset," Hoffman admitted.

--Field Level Media

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