Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Bishop fight adds spark to Lightning-Canadiens

MONTREAL — Throughout the third period Saturday, the sellout crowd at the Bell Centre booed Lightning G Ben Bishop whenever he touched the puck.

They mocked him with a sing-song chant of his last name.

"I love it," Bishop said. "It was awesome. It reminds me of college. It's a lot of fun. It keeps you in the game. That's why you play the game, for stuff like that."

Bishop was a target because of a dustup with Brandon Prust during a TV timeout with 2:58 left in the second period.

Prust was skating in the Lightning zone during the timeout and got into a heated argument with Bishop. Prust put his stick blade into Bishop's private parts and the punches flew. That sparked a 10-player scrum that resulted in 26 minutes of penalties, including 10-minute misconducts to Lightning D Radko Gudas and Canadiens RW George Parros.

"He was whining to the ref," Prust said of Bishop. "I heard him yapping all game, so I just told him to quit whining and shut up. He didn't like that, so he started yelling at me and I yelled at him. Then he came at me."

And that was when Prust's stick got a little too familiar.

"I didn't spear him by any means," said Prust, who got two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. "I tried to put my stick on him to stop his momentum."

"He came and started yelling and stuff, and one thing led to another," said Bishop, who got two minutes for leaving his crease. "You try to stay away from those things, but sometimes they're going to happen."

Still, with Bishop coming off a head injury, trading punches probably shouldn't have been a first choice.

"He's a very competitive guy," F Alex Killorn said. "You don't like to see him getting jabbed by one of the tough guys, but you like to see his competitiveness."

More medical matters: C Valtteri Filppula (hip/leg) is expected back in the lineup Tuesday at Minnesota, Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

Juggling goalies: Assistant GM Julien BriseBois believed he had the organization's goalie situation straightened out after working the phones on Friday.

But the plane transporting CHL Brampton G Grant Rollheiser to Rochester — from where he was going to be driven to Syracuse for Saturday's game with Norfolk — was diverted to Cleveland because of mechanical issues, BriseBois said.

In a pinch, Syracuse signed 46-year-old John Parks, an assistant high school coach who previously filled in at Crunch practices. "He offered to pay to play," BriseBois said of Parks, who backed up Allen York. "We told him we'd give him $300 and he could keep the jersey."

Helenius update: BriseBois didn't have much more to say about why struggling G Riku Helenius, a 2006 first-round pick, was suspended indefinitely for breach of contract for leaving ECHL Florida. Helenius was 0-2-0 in four games with a 6.08 goals-against average and .797 save percentage.

"He just said he was done playing with Florida," BriseBois said. "We really have no choice but to suspend him."

Family affair: Christian Thomas, son of Lightning assistant coach Steve Thomas, made his Canadiens debut after a callup Friday from AHL Hamilton.

"I want him to score three, and I want us to score four," Thomas said before the game.

"I kind of forgot he was on the bench sometimes," Christian said of his dad.

Odds and ends: G Kristers Gudlevskis was reassigned to AHL Syracuse. … Nikita Kucherov failed on a first-period penalty shot. The Lightning is 10-for-46 all time. … D Jean-Philippe Cote played in Montreal for the first time since he played eight games for the Canadiens in 2005-06, his last NHL games until Dec. 21 for Tampa Bay. … The Lightning and Montreal have played six straight one-goal games (2-2-2). … Lighting D Keith Aulie was scratched.

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