The Montreal Canadiens never did figure out how to consistently beat the Tampa Bay Lightning. Playoff success hinges on a lot of things, with matchups being near the top. This just wasn’t a good one for Montreal.
But if the Canadiens want to be considered among the Eastern Conference elite, the matchup shouldn’t matter. Only the New York Rangers finished with more than Montreal’s 110 regular-season standings points, but those don’t get you very far come playoff time.
GM Marc Bergevin has proven to be an extremely intelligent manager in his short time in Montreal, and his offseason work already started earlier this season when he cleared 2015-16 money from the books in the Travis Moen and Rene Bourque trades.