Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Jon Cooper expects Ben Bishop back in this series

TAMPA — While it's uncertain when Lightning G Ben Bishop will return, coach Jon Cooper is optimistic it'll be during this Eastern Conference final.

Bishop, who missed Game 2 Monday with a lower left leg injury sustained in Friday's Game 1, has yet to take part in a team practice since. And there was no skate Tuesday upon the Lightning's arrival back from Pittsburgh.

But Cooper said the schedule shouldn't impact the return of Bishop, who is considered day to day. Bishop would still likely need to be part of a team practice/skate before resuming game action, meaning G Andrei Vasilevskiy could start again tonight against the Penguins.

"I think, when you're playing every other day, it's tough for anybody to come back," Cooper said. "That's where those three-day breaks are big in that regard. That's helped us out in a few of these series, just trying to help get guys back. But ultimately, whether it's one day, two days, three days, if he's ready to go, he's ready to go. I don't think an extra day is going to help out. But he's making progress every day. So hopefully, we'll see him soon."

FLU BUG: Cooper didn't provide a definitive update on RW Ryan Callahan, who missed Monday's game due to the flu. Cooper said Monday that Callahan had it "really bad," and might not have gotten out of bed that day. "I felt awful for him," Cooper said. "The ultimate gamer is Ryan Callahan, and you know when he couldn't get himself out of bed, that's an unfortunate loss for us at a time when we need him."

Cooper said Monday he hoped Callahan would be ready for Game 3. Asked Tuesday if he was optimistic about Callahan playing, Cooper said, "I'm always optimistic."

KEEP THE PUCK: Cooper said one concern is puck possession, or lack thereof, and that the team is playing out of synch.

"I think we've put ourselves in positions to have the puck more, but we're not being very smart about how we're playing," Cooper said. "We're not playing as a group of five on the ice. We're kind of — we're in all like different segments, playing in different zones, changing when we shouldn't, and when you're not in unison, you're not going to have the puck a whole lot of time. So definitely something we have to improve on."

TOP PLAYS: There continued to be praise for Vasilevskiy, who made 38 saves Monday including a spectacular glove save on Sidney Crosby that was named ESPN's No. 1 top play. But D Victor Hedman said Vasilevskiy shouldn't have to make so many highlight-reel saves. "It was an unbelievable save," Hedman said. "He was unreal. He was the guy that kept us in it, and that's what we need from him. He gets no nerves. He wants to play. He's a tremendous talent. He's been phenomenal. He'll keep that going. We just have to do a better job of eliminating those grade 'A' chances."

MURRAY MYSTERY: There was a Zapruder-film-like controversy over whether D Anton Stralman's first-period goal Monday went through the glove of G Matt Murray, the video going viral. "I would say 'don't believe everything you see on the Internet,' " Murray said.

Contact Joe Smith at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

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