Birthday boy Bishop starts in net; Callahan game-time decision
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop turns 29 today, and there's nothing he'd like more than another win to celebrate it.
Those victories have been hard to come by for Bishop, a victim of hard-luck despite playing some of the best hockey of his career. Bishop has a 2.18 goals against average and .920 save percentage, but is only 7-7-2 due to the Lightning's lack of scoring.
But Bishop hasn't let the losses, including a recent five-game streak, get to him mentally.
"It's different if you're losing games 5-4 and wer'e scoring four goals, that's a different story," Bishop said. "But you've got to stick with it. I'm a big believer in the law of averages, and I think it's going to balance out there eventually.
Bishop credits the defense playe in front of him, blocking shots and not allowing many rebounds. "I'll put our defense up against any defense in the league." And Tampa Bay will need to be stout defensively against the resurgent Ducks, who have won six of nine and racked up 40-plus shots in back to back games.
"They're playing their best hockey," coach Jon Cooper said.
More from today's optional skate: It looks like wing Ryan Callahan (lower body) could return to the lineup, Cooper calling him a "game-time decision." Both Jonathan Drouin (undisclosed) and Cedric Paquette (upper body) skated in red jerseys, neither ready to come back. Tyler Johnson skated in a regular colored jersey, but says he's still day-to-day. Don't anticipate him returning tonight. If Callahan returns, the Lightning could go back to a 12/6 lineup. Judging by who was on the ice last this morning, D Luke Witkowski and C Mike Angelidis would be among the scratches.. LW Joel Vermin said his NHL debut Thursday was "more than I could ask for," and hopes to play again tonight. Frederik Anderson is in net for the Ducks... D Victor Hedman has purchased a suite for six games this season, benefiting local organizations, with tonight 16 people from Metropolitan Ministries attending. "It's awesome," Hedman said. "I'm excited."