Bishop said rest has been 'refreshing' in goalie platoon
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop wants to play every game.
He's a workhorse, ranking third in the NHL the previous two seasons in games played (150).
But with Tampa Bay recently going into a platoon with goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, Bishop will make his first start in five days tonight against the Flames. Bishop, who had started the first eight games, and 12 of 14, has played in just three games the past two weeks, and can feel the impact of the rest.
"In Minnesota (Saturday), I felt really good, one of the better games I felt as far as mentally and everything over the first beginning of the year," Bishop said. "That was kind of refreshing, having more energy, more mentally focused, something I hadn't felt in a little bit so that was nice. The schedule worked out well, where we kind of played every other, and both of us, stay sharp as far as not a big gap between games.
"It's worked out well right now. The kid (Vasilevskiy) has been playing well."
Vasilevskiy has gone 2-1 in his three starts since getting called up from AHL Syracuse Nov. 1 after missing the first month of the season due to vascular surgery. Coach Jon Cooper said he wants to make Bishop and Vasilevskiy a "1 and 1A tandem," with both goalies getting enough games where they're at "peak" performance. Cooper said they've mapped out the upcoming schedule, but it won't always be alternating each game, like it has the past two weeks.
Bishop said having played in 87 games last season, combined between regular season and playoffs, gave him a new understanding on the subject of rest.
"Last year I had a pretty good perspective on how long the season can be," Bishop said. "Before, I used to kind of get real upset when I wasn't going. You want to play every game. But after last year, when you're going as long as you did, you kind of realize that game in early November against Buffalo maybe wasn't as important as you made it out to be."
Bishop admits it was a little weird to be a backup in a home game Tuesday, "not something you want to get used to." But he can see the benefits, especially in the minor injury he'd been dealing with early in the season.
"I think you'd be lying if you said rest didn't help in any way," Bishop said. "Definitely feel better."
More from morning skate: It was an optional morning skate, with Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov among those who participated. Cooper indicated it would be the same lineup tonight, other than Bishop, so Nikita Nesterov will likely be scratched. Cooper remains encouraged with his team, saying they're a "much better team than our record" of 7-8-2. ..The Lightning traded G Kevin Poulin to Calgary for future considerations, which relieves a goalie glut at AHL Syracuse and gives them $175,000 more in cap space. Poulin, claimed off waivers from the Islanders in late September, never played a game for Tampa Bay, nor with Syracuse, where he was No. 3 behind Kristers Gudlevskis and Adam Wilcox...Cooper said he's encouraged the Lightning is No. 10 in goals allowed, but didn't want it to come at the cost of offense, which he doesn't think it has...