Andrei Vasilevskiy to start in goal against Oilers; Boyle back in the lineup
Coach Jon Cooper suggested he'd like to get goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy at least two starts during this stretch before the All-Star break.
And Vasilevskiy will make his second in three games tonight against the Oilers, as the Lightning tries to reach a six-game winning streak for the first timet since Oct. 28-Nov. 9, 2014.
Vasilevskiy has won his last four starts, including stopping 36 shots in Friday's overtime win against Pittsburgh. The Lightning has just three more games until the Jan. 28-Feb 1 All-Star break, and Cooper said Vasilevskiy might get another start.
All-Star Ben Bishop appears in line to start Thursday's Stanley Cup Final rematch with the Blackhawks. While Cooper had said they hadn't planned on Vasilevskiy going to AHL Syracuse to get spot starts, it would seem likely the 20-year-old Russian will, especially Jan. 29-30 while Tampa Bay is on the break.
The Lightning plays this Saturday and next Wednesday, just like the Crunch. Goalie Kristers Gudlevskis would come up and be Bishop's backup if Vasilevsky goes down.
More stuff from morning skate: C Brian Boyle, who missed Sunday's game with a lower body injury, is scheduled to return, with RW Jonathan Marchessault scratched for the fifth time in six games... RW Ryan Callahan would be the first to say he needs to be more productive offensively, with just one goal in his last 30 games and just five on the season. But Cooper is pleased with what Callahan, who is carrying a $5.8 million cap hit, is bringing in a different role, on a shutdown third line. Callahan leads the Lightning with 101 hits and is third in blocked shots. He's getting less power play time than last season, when he scored 24. "I would sit here and say Ryan Callahan, it would be on his mind a lot more than it's on my mind," Cooper said. "I look at it as, Ryan Callahan is out there against Barkov, Jagr and Huberdeau, and they did an unreal job against them. The next night, give me their top line, he's usually out there against them. If they're coming out of the game plsu, which a lot of nights they are, that's what we want. And he has been on and off the power play, that's probably affected that a little bit. I know on a personal aspect I'm sure the players are like, 'Gosh, I wish I had more goals.' But on a coaching aspect, we look at, 'Are you competing hard, are you doing the right things and is our team winning? Is he contributing to helping us win and he's doing that in all those areas. For me I'm not as worried about it as maybe everyone else is, because he brings so much to our team." No deal appears imminent involving Jonathan Drouin, though there are a bunch of teams still interested. Think GM Steve Yzerman will remain patient with this one, only making a trade if he gets blown away by an offer.