Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning to determine starting goalie today

MONTREAL — Give Lightning coach Jon Cooper credit for keeping his sense of humor Friday in a situation that probably would make some coaches cry.

It isn't often a team is so banged up, it calls up two minor-league goalies on the same day. But that is what Tampa Bay did as Cedrick Desjardins and Kristers Gud­levskis were added from AHL Syracuse because of injuries to No. 1 Ben Bishop and backup Anders Lindback.

"We'll have a goalie in net (today)," Cooper said with a wry smile about facing Montreal. "I just don't know what league his last game was from. He might have played in the NHL. He might have played in the American League."

Lindback is out with a sprained left ankle sustained in the second period of Thursday's 5-3 loss to the Senators. The twist: He was filling in for Bishop, who left 1:49 into the game when he dived to poke check a puck and was kicked in the head by teammate Nikita Kucherov.

Bishop practiced Friday and said his headache had abated, though he would wait until today to decide if he can at least back-up against Montreal. That will determine how Desjardins and Gudlevskis are utilized.

All that in addition to the potential loss of center Valtteri Filppula, who left Thursday in the second with what is believed a left hip/leg injury.

"We've got a little depth in goal," Cooper said. "Is it ideal? No. Bishop has been a big part of our team. But if he can't go, 19 other guys are going to have to step up around whoever is in net. We've done it before, and I know we can do it again."

It all was part of a surreal day in which medical reports were as much in demand as practice reports and Tampa Bay scrambled to cover the organization's goaltending needs.

• Lindback, hurt when run into by Senators wing Cory Conacher, who drove hard to the net and bumped with Lightning defenseman Jean-Philippe Cote, won't play until after the Feb. 9-25 Olympic break.

• Cooper sounded as if holding Filppula out would be precautionary.

• Desjardins, 28, who has played five NHL games, and Gudlevskis, 21, who was drafted 124th overall in June and has played 21 AHL games, were driven four hours in a Lightning-provided car after Friday's night's Syracuse game in Utica, N.Y., to make today's 1 p.m. start in Montreal.

• ECHL South Carolina goalie Allen York was loaned to Syracuse, which hosts Norfolk at 3 p.m. today.

• Struggling goalie Riku Helenius, a 2006 first-round draft pick, was suspended for breach of contract for leaving ECHL Florida. That means no promotion to Syracuse, so the Crunch signed Grant Rollheiser from the Brampton Beast, the Lightning's affiliate in the Central Hockey League, to a tryout contract.

• If Bishop, isn't available, he likely will be Tuesday at Minnesota, Cooper said. "It was nice to wake up (Friday) and not have a headache or anything like that and be able to practice," Bishop said. "Now we just have to see how it feels (today) and go from there."

Considering what Bishop has meant to the Lightning and that the team has lost two straight games, it is no laughing matter.

 
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