Vasilevskiy gets start in big game vs. Wild
With goalie Ben Bishop being on a roll, and coming off a shutout, you would have thought he might get the start tonight in a measuring-stick game against the Western Conference-leading Wild.
You'd also be wrong.
Andrei Vasilevskiy starts in Minnesota, hoping to keep Tampa Bay's two-game winning streak alive. Coach Jon Cooper said while Bishop has played well, the team wants to keep with the season-long plan to keep both goalies fresh. Tampa Bay plays in Winnipeg Saturday.
"Both of our goalies play, they're both good," Cooper said. "Our plans we've had in place all year, we're not deviating from it. Obviously 'Bish had a shutout, but Bish played a couple in a row, gave us a chance to win and we did, and now it's Vasy's turn. We've got full confidence."
The Lightning could have decided to start Bishop tonight against the better Wild and Vasilevskiy Saturday, giving both goalies a game before the five-day bye week next week. Tampa Bay has chosen often this year to play Vasilevskiy the first game of back-to-backs, more so than last year.
Time will tell if this was the right call.
JOHNNY BE GOOD? C Tyler Johnson was the first Lightning player on the ice for Friday's morning skate, but he was also the first one off. Johnson, who suffered an undisclosed injury Tuesday, will not play tonight and appears doubtful for Saturday's game in Winnipeg. "With such a quick turnaround, he'll have to do some massive healing," Cooper said.
Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat are both probable, Cooper said. Wing Erik Condra, called up Thursday, will play. He was on a line with Valtteri Filppula and Brian Boyle today.