Lightning leaning towards Bishop for Friday start
It sounds like there's a chance goalie Ben Bishop plays in both games of a back-to-back this weekend in Winnipeg and Chicago.
Bishop has started each of the first seven games this season, having performed well in going 4-2 with a 2.56 goals against average. Coach Jon Cooper indicated he is leaning towards starting Bishop Friday in Winnipeg, but we won't know until Friday's morning skate.
Whether Bishop would then start again Saturday in a rematch with the Blackhawks in Chicago would likely depend on how he felt Saturday morning, and of course what happens Friday. But Bishop seemed open to the possibility of playing both.
"Obviously I feel pretty good," Bishop said. "Not 100 percent, but I feel all right to play. Two fun places to play, Winnipeg and Chicago, both fun areas, so not hard to get up for."
Bishop has played well in both arenas. He made 40 saves to steal a 4-2 win over the Jets Oct. 24, 2014. He also stopped 33 of 36 shots April 16, 2013 in a 4-3 loss. His history in Chicago is also well-established. Bishop set the tone for staking claim to the No. 1 job Oct 5, 2013, making 37 of 39 saves in a 3-2 win.
Then there was Bishop's performance in the Stanley Cup Final, racking up 37 saves, while playing with a torn groin muscle, in a Game 3 win. He gave Tampa Bay a chance with 30 saves in a season-ending 2-0 loss in Game 6.
Bishop said there's not any added anticipation facing Chicago.
"It's kind of over and done with, to be honest," Bishop said. "We've got a new team, they've got a new team, it's not like a rematch-rematch. It's over and done with now. Not much to think about and wonder."
Kevin Poulin is the Lightning backup, but has yet to play. Andrei Vasilevskiy (vascular surgery), who was expected to start the season as the backup, will return to practice Monday, and could return as early as the beginning of November. The fact there are two days off in between Tuesday's start and Friday's game, as well as two days off between Saturday and Tuesday's game in St. Louis, isn't a huge factor, Bishop said.
"Not at this point," he said. "It seems like the playoffs last year, it doesn't seem like we've had much of a break. This is the first real break we've had. It's definitely nice to not have to worry about playing a game after one night. Two tough buildings to play, we've got to be prepared."
More practice notes: The Lightning lines were Drouin-Stamkos-Callahan/Palat-Johnson-Kucherov/Killorn-Filppula-Condra/Boyle-Namestnikov-Brown. It looks like it might be C Cedric Paquette's turn to be scratched Friday, though if he did he'd likely play Saturday in a back-to-back situation...Boyle continued to get reps on defense... Tampa Bay, coming off its second 3-on-3 overtime in a 5-4 shootout loss to Nashville, spent a lot of time in 3-on-3 drills Thursday..