The Lightning are going to have to do their best to hang in the race in the Southeast Division without Mike Smith for a little while. Smith has a sprained MCL in his left knee after getting accidentally clipped by teammate Simon Gagne during practice. Smith will be out 2-3 weeks to recover.
The timing of the injury is unfortunate for the Lightning as Smith was showing signs of shaking off a slump that had his stats ranked out as some of the poorest amongst regular goaltenders. Over his last two games though he was 2-0-0 with a goals against average under 1.00 and a save percentage of .961.
Goaltending has been the Lightning’s biggest issue this season and with Smith seemingly having turned it around, losing him so soon after that is bad timing. The pressure shifts to Dan Ellis to carry the burden for Tampa Bay in goal and his stats haven’t been much better than Smith’s over the course of the year. If Ellis falters, youngster Cedrick Desjardins slots in as the backup option. Desjardins was acquired from Montreal in the off-season for Karri Ramo.
Desjardins played well last year for the Canadiens farm team in Hamilton and the chances of him seeing an opportunity to find out what he can do at the NHL level are going to come, especially if Ellis stays inconsistent. It’s not an optimal situation for a team that appeared ready to turn things around, but it shapes up to be another test for coach Guy Boucher’s squad.
Less than a week after falling two places to fifth in the NHL draft lottery, the Vancouver Canucks have reportedly received more bad news: NCAA free agent forward Drake Caggiula will not be signing in Vancouver.
That’s according to reports from TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Friday. Not only are the Canucks supposedly out of the running, but so, too, are the Ottawa Senators, according to Friedman.
Where could Caggiula be signing?
It was believed earlier in the day that the Canucks could be front-runners for Caggiula, who played at North Dakota with Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick Brock Boeser and recent college signing Troy Stecher.
The ill will between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning has continued early in Game 4 on Friday.
It started with a scuffle in front of the Tampa Bay net after Islanders forward Steve Bernier fell over Ben Bishop, appearing to push downward with his stick as the Lightning goalie covered the puck.
Anxious few seconds there for the Lightning, as Bishop, appearing to favor the back of his head, was slow to get back to his skates. He has remained in the game.
The Islanders, needing a win to even the series, broke through for the game’s opening goal. Kyle Okposo ripped a shot from the slot that beat Bishop on the glove side late in the ensuing power play following the aforementioned heated gathering.
Related: WATCH LIVE: Lightning and Islanders — Game 4
There is only one game on the playoff schedule tonight, but it’s a crucial Game 4 between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Islanders are looking to even the series at two games apiece before it shifts back to Tampa Bay for Game 5.
You can catch Game 4 between the Lightning and Islanders on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Isles need ‘a short memory,’ can’t get hung up on Game 3 disappointment
Andreychuk confident that Stamkos will re-sign in Tampa Bay
No hearings scheduled for Boyle on Hickey hit, or Hickey on Drouin hit
In an emotional farewell ceremony to Edmonton’s Rexall Place last month, organizers somehow overlooked one rather significant detail about a former WHA player.
We will let the Oilers explain:
Oilers Entertainment Group would like to issue a formal apology to former Edmonton Oiler (WHA) Roger Cote and his family. In a special segment during the Farewell Rexall Place Night on April 6, 2016, the organization honoured members of the Oilers Alumni who have unfortunately passed on. In an extreme oversight and error, we included Mr. Cote in that portion of the program. Roger is alive and well, living in Garson, Ontario. For this action and any confusion or pain it caused Mr. Cote and his family and friends, we sincerely apologize.
In addition to recognizing the error and issuing an apology, the Oilers added that they will be hosting Cote and his son at a game at Rogers Place next season.
Cote played two seasons for Edmonton during the WHA days.
The ceremony following the final game at Rexall Place involved more than 150 Oilers alumni members, staff and special guests, as well as current members of the organization, according to the Oilers.