Lightning plan to ride hot hand of Bishop
Goalie Ben Bishop has taken a firm grip of the Lightning's No. 1 goalie job, having won his first five starts.
And Bishop is expected to be in net again Saturday night when Tampa Bay hosts the Bruins, his sixth start in the last seven games.
Bishop is playing with a lot of confidence, and that was evident during a second-period save Thursday, when he gloved a shot onto his stick, then flicked it back into his glove, thwarting a flurry with some flair.
"He's feeling the vibe right now," coach Jon Cooper said. "I like that he's calm in the net. He's stopping the ones he should, and some of the ones he probably shouldn't. I think in that moment, he let everybody know, he's feeling it, and it's fun to watch. You want your team to be like that, to have a little swag going, I'm a big fan of it."
Cooper made it clear that G Anders Lindback has handled the situation like a pro, and will get his share of opportunities, too. Lindback, who made his two starts against the Penguins and Bruins, going 0-2 with a 4.07 goals against average.
"Lindy has been unreal in the lockeroom, there's not an ounce of time where he's not working," Cooper said. "You've got to feel for him because he's a competitor and and he's a professional, and he wants to play. But he knows there's 75 more games left to go and we're running through a time right now where we don't have a lot of back to backs. Coming in November, he's going to see games and we're going to need him."
But Cooper said Bishop has done his job, giving his team a chance to win every night, allowing two goals or fewer in each of his starts.
"It's great knowing that you kind of have that rock back there when you make mistakes," Steven Stamkos said. "His confidence is probably sky-high right now. It's kind of that safety blanket, especially on the penalty kill, he's made some unbelievable saves. So we're just trying to ride him out as long as we can."
Other stuff from Friday's practice: RW Marty St. Louis and C Valtteri Filppula did not practice Friday due to body maintenance, but both are expected to play tonight. Cooper said Filppula "tweaked something" Thursday but sat out as a precaution. "No cause for alarm," Cooper said...Cooper was noncomittal on how long Brett Connolly will stick around, but liked how he played Thursday. "Would I love to get him more ice time? I would," Cooper said. "But I thought he contributed...It's just tough because when you come back, you're playing your first game, and the nerves and everything that comes with it. But he's going to be in this league, it's not an if, it's just a when.".. It appears rookie D Andrej Sustr will continue to stay in the rotation and "learn under fire," with Cooper liking his play, and potential. "He's in the infancy of his career," Cooper said. "If he's playing like this, can't wait to see him in months, years from now. It'll be fun."
- JOE SMITH
(FYI, I'll be filling in for Damian this weekend, so if you have any questions or comments, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @TBTimes_JSmith.)