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Lightning will test their might against Canadiens

Victor Hedman,  Kristers Gudlevskis

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Kristers Gudlevskis, left, and defenseman Victor Hedman, right, react after letting in the winning goal in a 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens during third period National Hockey League Stanley Cup playoff action on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 in Montreal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)


After making some shrewd offseason moves, the Tampa Bay Lightning came into this fresh season as a chic pick to make a deep playoff run. That said, the Montreal Canadiens - aka the team that swept them from the 2014 playoffs - might have something to say about that.

With the two teams set to meet for the first time in 2014-15 on Monday, the Lightning seem more interested in testing their progress than getting “revenge” for that lopsided series, as the Tampa Bay Times reports.

“It’s probably going to be a good gauge for us,” Head coach Jon Cooper said. “Clearly, they’re setting the bar in the Eastern Conference. They’re kind of the team to beat right now, so I guess we’ll see where we’re at.”

It could be a nice test for two teams who haven’t provided themselves with large margins of error so far. Montreal trailed in all three of its wins so far and took two victories via shootout (including erasing a three-goal deficit against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday) while the Lightning went to overtime in both of their contests, winning one and dropping the other.

Tampa Bay will turn around and host a New Jersey Devils team that already scored 11 goals in its first two games - a torrid pace only matched by the Pittsburgh Penguins - so the Lightning could learn a lot about where they stand in the next 48 hours.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins