Subban expects Bishop ‘to be a lot better’ in Game 6

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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.

Could it happen? Habs edge closer to reverse sweep by forcing Game 6

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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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Video: Price makes huge save, Stamkos finally breaks through minutes later

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.

Video: Smith-Pelly gives Habs another early lead

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.

Habs’ Beaulieu available for Game 5

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Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is available to the Montreal Canadiens for Game 5 tonight.

Beaulieu has been sidelined with an upper body injury since Game 3 of the Habs’ first round series with the Ottawa Senators following a hit from Erik Karlsson.

The 22-year-old has one assist in three Stanley Cup playoff games while averaging 12:18 in time on ice.

Michel Therrien would not confirm whether the blue liner would be in the lineup for tonight’s must-win contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning.