There is a ‘chance’ Matt Carle could play Game 5

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Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matt Carle, who has not played since leaving Game 3 with an undisclosed injury, is improving according to head coach Jon Cooper.

Carle has two assists and a minus-6 rating in 16 playoff games this season while averaging 16:35 in time on ice.

“He’s improving, so we’ll see,” said Cooper of Carle’s Game 5 status. “I guess there is always a chance, but we won’t be able to know. I haven’t seen him today.”

Carle left midway through the first period of the Bolts’ 6-5 overtime win on Wednesday night following a collision with Rangers’ forward Derek Stepan.

Mark Barberio took Carle’s spot in the lineup in Game 4. The 25-year-old was a minus-1 in 8:44 of ice time.

“I would say it’s inconsistent,” said Cooper of his team’s defensive play. “I think when there is long stretches where we’re not giving up anything, and then there is just a flurry. I look at (Friday) night’s game, we didn’t, I consider, give up a ton through the first 45 minutes.

“We gave up a ton in the last 15 minutes.”