Lightning's Ben Bishop gets second straight start in net
No one was quite sure which direction Lightning coach Jon Cooper would go with his goaltending Saturday against the Islanders, the first game of a back-to-back that includes Sunday against the Capitals.
But after Ben Bishop's 45-save shutout of the Hurricanes Thursday in his Tampa Bay debut, Cooper went back to the 6-foot-7 goalie, and did not rule out playing him Sunday in Washington.
Cooper acknowledged that some might question why he would not go with Mathieu Garon against the Islanders and come back with Bishop against the Capitals because of the perception the Southeast Division game against Washington is more important.
"But that's absolutely false to us," Cooper said. "There's two points here tonight and we're putting out the lineup in to beat the Islanders. It just so happens Washington is next on the schedule. We need the two points and we're going after them tonight."
And another thing, Cooper said, "We're not at a point in the season where we're throwing in the towel. We're at a point in the season that we need to win."
And, in fact, if things fall right this weekend, Tampa Bay, despite all that has gone on this season, could find itself in a tie for first in the division.
Other stuff from the morning skate: Defenseman Victor Hedman (lower body) said he will not play against the Islanders or the Capitals. ... Center Nate Thompson is back in the lineup after a two-game league suspension for a head shot on New Jersey's Matt D'Agostini. ... Cooper graduated from Hofstra University, located next to the Nassau Coliseum with a business administration degree. he also played midfield for the lacrosse team. "One of my favorite players,' said John Danowski, who coached Cooper at Hofstra and now is at Duke. ... Defenseman Matt Taormina was the choice to be called up from AHL Syracuse, after Hedman was injured, because of his NHL experience. He played 47 games for the Devils from 2010-12. "One of the things in my short time here, we've got to be better at breaking pucks out of our end, and he's good at that," Cooper said. "He can play a steady role for us, eat up some minutes, and he can keep up with the guys in this league."