Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop leaves win over Red Wings with unknown injury

TAMPA — It's bad enough the Lightning is dealing with injuries to top players like Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov.

It got even worse Tuesday as goalie Ben Bishop left a 4-1 victory over the Red Wings in the first period with a lower body injury and did not return.

It's unclear what the injury is, or how long Bishop will be out. Coach Jon Cooper said they'll know more today on the team's off day, when Bishop is evaluated.

"It's difficult," Cooper said. "Hopefully this is a short-term thing."

Any long-term injury would be a blow to a Lightning team struggling to fight its way back into a playoff spot. Backup Andrei Vasilevskiy is more than capable, and he stepped in nicely with 22 saves in the victory over the Red Wings that pulled Tampa Bay (16-14-3) within two points of third place in the Atlantic Division.

But for Bishop, 30, it's at least another bump in the road in what will likely be his final season in a Lightning uniform. The fact that Bishop is an unrestricted free agent this summer has made him a hot topic in trade speculation leading up to March's trade deadline.

"A big part of our club that went down," center Brian Boyle said. "When he comes out of the game, you feel for the guy, obviously he's in pain."

The play when Bishop got hurt looked relatively harmless. Bishop kicked his right pad out to make a save on a shot by Red Wings defenseman Nik Jensen with about eight minutes left in the first period. But Bishop was in immediate pain, lying face-first on the ice for a moment before slowly skating off.

On his way to the dressing room, Bishop embraced Vasilevskiy, who said no words were shared. None were needed.

"I've been in that situation before," Vasilevskiy said.

Vasilevskiy has relieved Bishop in back-to-back playoffs. He started one game during the 2015 Stanley Cup final when Bishop had a groin injury. Vasilevskiy played most of the seven-game Eastern Conference final last spring when Bishop suffered an ankle injury in Game 1.

Vasilevskiy has been impressive this season with a 2.41 goals-against average in 14 games. Asked if he feels ready to be a No. 1 if Bishop is out for an extended period, Vasilevskiy said, "That's what I'm here for."

Both goalie coach Frantz Jean and PR director Brian Breseman were options as the emergency third goalie Tuesday.

The Lightning could recall either Kristers Gudlevskis or prospect Adam Wilcox for Thursday's game to be Vasilevskiy's temporary backup if Bishop is not ready. Gudlevskis has NHL experience, while Wilcox has played better for the Crunch, his 2.09 goals-against average eighth in the AHL.

"Listen, let's not speculate on (Bishop) — he could be back (today)," Cooper said. "Who knows? But if not, you've got someone else back there (Vasilevskiy).

"As I said, you can throw a dart at either goalie to see who is going to play the game and we have complete confidence in them."

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

     
           
Comments
How Lightning coach Jon Cooper reinvented himself

How Lightning coach Jon Cooper reinvented himself

BRANDON — The best team in town had just wrapped up practice. The Lightning had a plane to catch, to St. Louis, where Tuesday in St. Louis begins a four-city road trip that ends at expansion Las Vegas, exclusive engagement, one show a night, unless y...
Updated: 2 hours ago
All boxes checked on Lightning home stand sweep; now, back to the road

All boxes checked on Lightning home stand sweep; now, back to the road

TAMPA — You don’t often see a coach making shadow puppets on the wall with his hands at the start of his postgame news conference, but that’s where the Lightning is these days after sweeping a four-game home stand with Saturday night’s 4-3 overtime v...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated game story: Lightning’s Brayden Point credits luck, opportunity for OT winner vs. Jets

Updated game story: Lightning’s Brayden Point credits luck, opportunity for OT winner vs. Jets

TAMPA — His coach says he plays every game as if he doesn’t play his best, he’s going to be sent down. That is not the case with Brayden Point, but who doesn’t want that kind of effort from a second-year player who has more than established himself i...
Published: 12/09/17

Brayden Point scores in OT to give Lightning win over Jets

TAMPA — The Jets saw Saturday’s game against the Lightning as a benchmark game, a way to measure themselves against the NHL’s top team. The Lightning had circled the game, the last of a four-game home stand."It’s going to be a big test for us," Light...
Published: 12/09/17
Lightning journal: Power-play players make me look good, Jon Cooper says

Lightning journal: Power-play players make me look good, Jon Cooper says

TAMPA — How about that Lightning power play."Coaching," coach Jon Cooper said before Saturday’s game with the Jets.He was kidding."You always look like a good coach when you can throw (Nikita) Kucherov and (Steven) Stamkos and (Victor) Hedman over th...
Published: 12/09/17

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Saturday’s Lightning-Jets game

The game drew the hockey world’s attention because it matched the NHL’s top team against a rising team in the West. It was refreshing to see both treat it as more than just another game. The Jets saw a chance to measure themselves against the top tea...
Published: 12/09/17
Attitude adjusted, Cory Conacher focused on sticking with Lightning

Attitude adjusted, Cory Conacher focused on sticking with Lightning

TAMPA — When Cory Conacher was called up a little over a week ago, it looked like it might be for just a one-game cameo.Center Cedric Paquette had been suspended for one game for boarding, and the Lightning, otherwise healthy up front, needed a fill-...
Published: 12/09/17
Another test tonight for Lightning

Another test tonight for Lightning

Big one tonight at Amalie Arena as the Lightning finish off its four-game homestand against the visiting Jets, who at one point earlier this week were tied with the Lightning (20-6-2, 42 points) for the NHL lead in points.Since then, the Jets (17-8-4...
Published: 12/09/17
Attitude adjusted, Cory Conacher focused on sticking with Lightning

Attitude adjusted, Cory Conacher focused on sticking with Lightning

TAMPA — When Cory Conacher was called up a little over a week ago, it looked like it might be for just a one-game cameo.Center Cedric Paquette had been suspended for one game for boarding, and the Lightning, otherwise healthy up front, needed a fill-...
Published: 12/09/17
Steven Stamkos’ toughest rehab leads to his greatest hockey

Steven Stamkos’ toughest rehab leads to his greatest hockey

TAMPA — Steven Stamkos picked up steam near the Lightning blue line early in Thursday’s first period.By the time the captain reached center ice, he was seemingly at warp speed. Stamkos, 27, chasing a Vladislav Namestnikov pass off the boards, split t...
Published: 12/08/17