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Lightning goalie Ben Bishop takes another step toward returning

TAMPA — Lightning G Ben Bishop missed his second straight game Wednesday due to a left leg injury.

But Bishop took another step toward returning, potentially by Friday's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final against the Penguins. Bishop worked out on the ice in full gear before Wednesday's Game 3 morning skate. Considered day to day, Bishop practiced his movements, side to side and up and down, while facing shots from goalie coach Frantz Jean.

Coach Jon Cooper said the Lightning hoped Bishop could join practice today. Bishop got hurt in Friday's Game 1, getting wheeled off the ice on a stretcher midway through the first period.

"He's progressing," Cooper said. "I think after (Wednesday's) game, I think now we're teetering on whether he can be back or not, but there's obviously no guarantees in that. But he's making gradual steps every day, and he was going up and down today on the pads. So hopefully it's soon."

Andrei Vasilevskiy made his second straight start in Bishop's place, with Kristers Gudlevskis the backup.

BACK IN: RW Ryan Callahan, who missed Monday's Game 2 loss with the flu, returned to the lineup, saying he was feeling better.

Callahan said he started getting sick Sunday night and it carried over into Monday. It was difficult to miss a playoff game, he said: "It was unlucky obviously."

Said Cooper: "That kid is tough as nails. He actually had a really good line for me, he was so (upset). … He said 'Yeah, last year I played a game three days after getting my appendix out and this year I can't even fight through the … flu.' I was like, 'That must have been a bad flu bug.'

"We've all been there, like when you get zapped by it. He looked awful, felt awful, but he's game to get back."

STAMKOS WATCH: It was interesting that C Steven Stamkos (blood clot) did not participate in the morning skate. It was optional, and several others didn't skate, C Tyler Johnson, D Victor Hedman and RW Jonathan Drouin among them. But Stamkos has skated with the team almost every day as of late, working hard to give himself a chance to return if cleared.

The Lightning said Stamkos had an off-ice workout Tuesday and Wednesday was a planned off day. Cooper said there was no significance to Stamkos not skating.

There was added intrigue with a decision expected to come soon on whether Stamkos will be able to come back and play in the playoffs. Stamkos has been on blood thinners and would have to get off them or be put on a certain regimen that would allow him to play.

NUTS AND BOLTS: Commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance Wednesday. … D Slater Koekkoek was scratched as the Lightning went with 12 forwards, including RW Jonathan Marchessault, who played for the second straight game. Right wings Erik Condra and Mike Blunden were also scratched.

Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop takes another step toward returning 05/18/16 [Last modified: Thursday, May 19, 2016 12:58am]
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