Canadiens avoid being swept by the Lightning, updates on the Ducks-Flames series, plus the latest on the Oilers and Canucks.
MONTREAL GAZETTE/THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: The Montreal Canadiens avoided being swept from their best-of-seven series against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 6-2 victory in Game Four. The Habs chased goalie Ben Bishop from the net by taking a 3-0 lead in the second period, then followed up with goals by Jeff Petry and Brendan Gallagher 15 second apart on backup Andrei Vasilevskiy. As the series shifts back to Montreal for Game Five, the Lightning’s recent performance has raised eyebrows and accusations of complacency from the local media.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As in Game Three, the Canadiens outplayed the Lightning, only this time they finally solved Bishop, who looked shaky in this one. It was only on the power play that the Lightning had any advantage. The Habs have maintained their composure since their Game Two meltdown. I expect a more determined performance by the Lightning in Game Five. Dropping that game runs the risk of tilting momentum even further in favor of Montreal. The odds still heavily favor the Lightning, but the Habs’ situation is a little less dire than it was entering Game Four.
CALGARY SUN: Rugged Flames winger Lance Bouma (suspected hand injury) could return to the lineup for Game Four tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau shuffled his lines yesterday in practice. Right wing Tomas Fleischmann replaced Kyle Palmieri on the third line while Jiri Sekac replaced Emerson Etem at left wing on the fourth line.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The return of Bouma will provide more physical depth up front for the Flames. It’ll be interesting to see how effective those tweaks to the Ducks’ checking lines will be if Boudreau goes with them tonight.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers’ interim coach Todd Nelson will be interviewed by new GM Peter Chiarelli this weekend for the full-time role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it seems a tad absurd for Nelson to interview for the job he held for half a season, it’s understandable. Nelson wasn’t Chiarelli’s hiring. I doubt Nelson returns as the Oilers bench boss next season, but perhaps he gets an assistant coaching gig with the club.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford believes the Vancouver Canucks miscast Linden Vey as an offensive forward this season. Botchford suggests Vey should be employed in a shutdown role to free up promising Bo Horvat for scoring.