While any team should strive to hold home-ice advantage in the playoffs, scenarios come around that could make away playoff games more attractive. This is the scenario the Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves in.
With little doubt that the Lightning will be facing the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round of the playoffs, there is little reason to dread the Canadians holding home-ice advantage.
Despite the Canadians having one of the most loyal fanbases in the NHL, the team has been unable to produce great results at home this season. With a record of 22-12-5, the Canadiens are not among the top 10 in the league at home. This can be taken advantage of by the Lightning, as they have won three of their last five away games.
In addition to the Lightning’s recent success on the road, they also own a 7-3 record in Canada this season, including three straight wins. Having taken two trips to Montreal this season, the Lightning walked away from each game with a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Habs, one by way of a shootout and the other in overtime.
While all of these samples are from this season alone, the Canadiens’ home playoff record since the 1993-94 season can stand as a strong historical reason as to why the Lightning shouldn’t dread playing in Montreal. Holding a 19-31 record at home in the playoffs through the last 18 seasons (12 playoff seasons), the Canadiens are known to struggle at home.
All of these elements add up to an advantage for the Lightning if the series does indeed start in Montreal. So, the Lightning has little reason to worry if they fail to secure home-ice advantage.