It’s amazing how many people can be offended by a simple, strategically timed emoticon.
Around the time it became quite clear that the Anaheim Ducks would be eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, Duck-turned-Hab Devante Smith-Pelly happened to tweet his thoughts with one anger-inducing smiley face:
Get this: Ducks fans weren’t happy.
Here are some of the publishable responses to Smith-Pelly’s cheeky tweet:
Sure, some enjoyed it or at least commended his candor, but that bit of Twitter-trolling certainly got people’s attention with 1,000+ re-tweets and 2,000+ favorites. In fact, the 22-year-old was surprised by how much heat he drew, as he told the Montreal Gazette.
“I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Smith-Pelly said. “I didn’t think people would be that upset about it, but that’s the way Twitter goes, I guess.”
He’s not about to delete the message nor will he deny that he was very much rooting against the Ducks, even if Smith-Pelly said he’s still friends with many of them.
Of course, he might also wait a little while to contact them after this social media snafu (and that whole devastating defeat thing).
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.
For a playoff overview and all tonight’s biggest stories, click here.
The Montreal Canadiens were able to build off of an early lead in Game 4 en route to a 6-2 victory. They have a chance to secure a similar outcome tonight.
Devante Smith-Pelly managed to beat Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop midway through the first period to get Montreal on the board first. There was some initial confusion because the Lightning players on the ice thought the puck hit the post and went back out, but the replies made it clear that it was a goal.
You can see that play below:
It was Smith-Pelly’s first marker of the 2015 playoffs. He was acquired from Anaheim in exchange for Jiri Sekac on Feb. 24.
This is just the fourth time in 11 games that Montreal has scored first in the 2015 postseason. The Canadiens are 2-1 in that scenario while Tampa Bay is 2-4 when surrendering the opening goal.
The thought has been that Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos was “due” and that maybe a change in opponent in the Montreal Canadiens would finally light his fire.
That didn’t happen in Game 1 of the second round, however, as he failed to generate a point in a 2-1 double-overtime win for the Bolts.
Many focus on Stamkos’ zero goals so far in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, and for a while, that might not have been a fair narrative (people all too often ignore assists, for one thing). His lack of production is more glaring as time goes on, however; Stamkos only has one assist in the past six playoff games. He’s gone two straight contests without a point.
There are bright sides – he’s still shooting, his team is generally winning and he hasn’t been on the ice for a ton of goals allowed – yet the Habs are at the point where they’re quietly noticing his lack of points. Devante Smith-Pelly told NHL.com that he didn’t want to “jinx” their success.
“You look at the stat sheet and you see Stamkos didn’t have a goal, but at the same time that’s the guy you’re really worried about,” Smith-Pelly said. “If he gets one, chances are it’s going to snowball the wrong way for us. We did a good job and we’re going to continue to play hard on all their guys.”
Again, it’s not all bad, though.
Of course, the troubling thing for the Canadiens and other teams is that the Lightning are winning even with opponents neutralizing Stamkos. The line of Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov is picking up the slack to the point that his struggles haven’t been fatal. The Bolts are hoping they can keep this pick-your-poison proposition going.
For Stamkos’ perspective on his struggles, read this post.