With Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals approaching in a few hours and deadlocked at 2-2, the Washington Capitals will make a few lineup changes, according to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. The scribe writes that head coach Barry Trotz said he intends to return center Nicklas Backstrom to his second line to join T.J. Oshie and Chandler Stephenson. Backstrom, who finally returned for Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, played well in his return after a four-game absence. While he didn’t score any points, he played 18:51 of ice time and won six of nine faceoff attempts.
Gulitti also reported that Trotz said he will switch out Andre Burakovsky with the bigger, more physical Alex Chiasson on the team’s fourth line. Burakovsky has been back for four games after missing time with an injury. However, in those four games, he’s failed to score a point and only has had two shots on goal. In the last two games, he’s played just 7:26 and 8:30, respectively. Chiasson has one assist in three playoff games against the Lightning.
- The Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington writes that the prevailing belief is that the Buffalo Sabres do not have a No. 1 goalie within their organization, meaning the team will have to find one through free agency or via trade to join Linus Ullmark. Harrington writes its very likely the team has seen the last of Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson, last year’s goalie tandem. The 26-year-old Lehner will be a restricted free agent and is not expected to receive an offer, while Johnson will be unrestricted.
- After New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider listed his New Jersey house on the market recently, there was some speculation that he might be moving on, but NJ.com’s Chris Ryan writes that he’s not going anywhere as he’s just buying another house in the area. A career dominating goaltender, Schneider has struggled the past two years due to poor team defense and injuries. After putting up a 2.82 GAA and a .908 save percentage in the 2016-17 season and a 2.93 GAA and a .907 save percentage in the 2017-18 season, Schneider underwent surgery to repair cartilage in his left hip and is expected to miss training camp and possibly the start of the season. The 32-year-old has four years remaining on his deal at $6MM AAV.