The Washington Capitals announced that defenseman Nate Schmidt has been summoned from AHL Hershey in a move that might be a hint about Tim Gleason’s status for Game 7 on Wednesday.
Gleason didn’t see any ice time in the final 10:57 minutes of Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers. After the contest coach Barry Trotz described the 32-year-old defenseman as “banged up,” per the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt.
Washington acquired Gleason from the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 28 in exchange for Jack Hillen and a 2015 fourth-round draft pick. He had two assists and a plus-five rating in 17 games with the Capitals to finish the season, but his ice time has dipped to just 13:28 minutes per game in the playoffs as Washington has leaned on its top-five blueliners in John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, and Mike Green.
Schmidt, 23, had a goal and three assists in 39 contests with Washington during the 2014-15 regular season.
If Gleason can’t play on Wednesday, then that would mark the first change in Washington’s defense since the playoffs began.
Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban got some attention when he said after Game 4 that he felt Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop had been “sitting on a horseshoe.” He explained that while he felt Bishop had been playing well in the series, he also believed that the goalie was getting lucky.
That was until Game 4 at least when Bishop was yanked after allowing three goals on 14 shots. The Canadiens went on to earn a 6-2 victory to avoid the sweep. They followed that up with a 2-1 win tonight and once again Subban had something to say about Bishop.
“I expect Bishop to be a lot better (in Game 6),” Subban said. Perhaps, but he wasn’t bad in tonight’s contest.
The Lightning netminder stopped 27 of 29 shots in the losing effort. It’s hard to fault him for Devante Smith-Pelly’s goal, which was a great shot that hit the post before going in. There was also a fair amount of traffic around him for Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau’s game-winning goal:
Either way, it’s certainly reasonable to believe that the Lightning need a great game out of Bishop on Tuesday as his counterpart in Montreal, Carey Price, doesn’t have many bad nights.
After taking a 3-0 series lead, Tampa Bay was crushed by Montreal in Game 4 on Thursday. The Lightning regrouped for Game 5 and held their own, but they still suffered a 2-1 loss to the Canadiens Saturday night.
Montreal held a 1-0 lead for most of the game after Devante Smith-Pelly got the better of Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop at 9:01 of the first period. It certainly helped that Canadiens netminder Carey Price was as dominant as usual, but with a ton of traffic around the goalie, Steven Stamkos was able to capitalize on a juicy rebound to tie the contest.
That had the potential to be the start of a storybook ending for Tampa Bay as Stamkos has struggled to find the back of the net in the 2015 playoffs and didn’t even record a shot in the Lightning’s previous two contests. However, Montreal forward PA Parenteau provided an alternative conclusion:
The Lightning were unable to close the gap the second time around. In a sign of how heated this series has gotten, there was a skirmish after the contest. These squads have now played 10 times since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, so they’re very familiar with each other at this point.
Montreal has to be feeling confident after these two wins against Tampa Bay. The odds are still stacked against the Canadiens, but with Price leading the way, a reverse sweep can’t be ruled out. The key for Tampa Bay now is to avoid getting frustrated. The Lightning have two more chances to eliminate Montreal left and the next one will be in Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
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Montreal took a 1-0 lead over Tampa Bay midway through the first period of Game 5 and for much of the game, the Canadiens clung onto that edge.
Montreal goaltender Carey Price played a big role in allowing that to happen. With nearly half of the third period in the books, Price made a big glove save to rob Valtteri Filppula:
Price merely delayed the game-tying goal though as captain Steven Stamkos was able to capitalize on a juicy rebound at 9:27 of the third to tie the contest:
That was just Stamkos’ second goal of the playoffs and it came after he failed to record a single shot in back-to-back games. He couldn’t have picked a much better time to come through, although Montreal was able to regain the lead late in the frame.
New Jersey Devils co-owner Josh Harris is frustrated about the fact that his team hasn’t advanced to the postseason since he bought them along with David Blitzer in August 2013 and if they miss the playoffs again next season, he would be disappointed. But he wants to take a long-term view of the Devils, even if it means that there might be some short-term pain.
“There are no shortcuts … we’re going to make decisions that allow us to be an elite team and that’s not being one and done in the playoffs,” Harris told the Bergen Record. “Being one and done in the playoffs is not really interesting from my point of view. So, that means being deep in the playoffs and in the hunt for the Stanley Cup and ultimately competing for the Stanley Cup and winning the Stanley Cup. So, putting a time frame on it, if it takes a little time to achieve that, we’re going to make decisions that are consistent with that goal. And I can’t put a time frame on it. I can tell you I want it to be as fast as possible.”
The Devils already have a great goaltender in Cory Schneider and their defense is promising too, but the Achilles’ heel has been their offense. New GM Ray Shero will work to address that, but based on Harris’ comments, he might be unlikely to offer up much in the way of picks or prospects for veteran help.
It’s worth adding that when asked if the Devils would consider offers for the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Harris felt it was important to keep everything on the table. However, given their long-term mandate, the circumstances in which they would move that pick are probably narrow.