BY: John Mamola

With the NHL playoffs just a day away, analyst from around the country are making their selections and prognostications on who they believe will take home the Stanley Cup this season.  As the Tampa Bay Lightning prepare for their opening round match up against the Montreal Canadiens, ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose told WDAE’s ‘The Sports Page” on Tuesday that he believes the Bolts have the upper hand against the Canadiens.

“I actually like Tampa,” said Melrose.  “I think Tampa is a very underrated team.  I think they match up very well against Montreal.  (Ryan) Callahan has been a great addition, and (Steven) Stamkos is back and looking sharp.  This is a very good hockey team so I think Tampa will win this game.”

The former Lightning head coach believes the loss of Ben Bishop shouldn’t be as much of an issue as many around the league feel.  Melrose harkened back to the reason the Bolts brought in Anders Lindback in the first place was to be the starting goaltender for the Lightning.

“I think he’s (Lindback) a big body and should be a good NHL goaltender,” said Melrose.  “Hopefully for Tampa he’s found himself because obviously they’ll need great goal tending to win.  I think he’s found himself and ready to go.”

The Lightning will host the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the NHL playoffs beginning on Wednesday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.