The Montreal Canadiens should have the edge in goal. It's what everyone was expecting coming in.
Shockingly, they didn't get it until Game 4.
Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop had been fantastic in stopping all but four pucks in the first three games, surprisingly outplaying Carey Price to give the Lightning a 3-0 series lead. But on Thursday, he was chased from the goal only 25 minutes in, including an embarrassing third goal that went off his glove and into the net, as part of a convincing 6-2 Habs win that sends the series back to Montreal.
Typically in that situation, down three games to none, teams roll over. Historically, the team up by that much in a series has finished it off in a sweep 62 per cent of the time.
What's different here is that the Canadiens were the better team in both the games in Tampa. You can even argue they deserved to win Game 1. They certainly deserved to win in Game 3, and it was only a last-minute scramble that cost them that game.
The Habs insist they're confident, and they have reason to be.
"This wasn't going to be a sweep," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
No, probably not.
The scary thing for the Lightning here is that Price has another gear, the one we witnessed all season when he was nearly unbeatable and Montreal won a lot of games they were outplayed in. If he brings that in Game 5, this series well could go deep.
And comebacks from down 3-0 and 3-1 are more common than they've ever been before.
Tampa is a young team. They didn't have Bishop (because of injury) last year in the first round against Montreal and were badly beaten in part because of the goaltending mismatch. It's possible they get rattled if things start going pear shaped early on in Saturday's game.
One way for that to happen is Price to shut the door entirely.
So far in this series, he has merely been okay. He's allowed 12 goals in four games in a postseason where teams are averaging only 2.25 goals per game. He has an unbecoming .882 save percentage after posting an incredible .933 all season.
You can't blame Price for where they are in the series, not after the year he's had. But that doesn't mean they can't hope for more.
The Habs goal scoring issues are well documented. They were the lowest scoring team to make the postseason – 20th in the NHL – and the style they play usually doesn't lend itself to the kind of outbursts they had in Game 4.
The six goals they had Thursday were actually almost 30 per cent of their entire non-empty-net total through 10 games this postseason.
The Canadiens have done a great job of limiting what was the best offence in hockey to few opportunities in this series, but for them to have a hope of extending it to six or seven games, it likely falls on Price to win them a 1-0 or 2-0 game.
That's become the norm. And that's certainly a possibility, given what's come before.
PK Subban said after the win they felt like Bishop had had a horseshoe up his rear end and that breaking through was long overdue. Maybe so. But what many are also waiting for is what should be the Habs biggest advantage in this series – the Hart Trophy favourite in goal – to be a difference maker against a goalie that is playing in his first NHL postseason at 28 years old.
That could be coming. Price is good enough to change a series.
But their season could depend on it.