Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning's Ben Bishop doesn't play but continues to improve

TAMPA— G Ben Bishop was encouraged by how he felt after Tuesday's morning skate.

"Best day so far," he said.

While Bishop (lower left leg) didn't play in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final, he has set his sights on returning during the Stanley Cup final, if Tampa Bay advances.

"That's definitely the goal," he said. "You can kind of see the light there. It's just a matter of not trying to do too much too fast."

Bishop, hurt in Game 1, is still not ready as evidenced by some of his tentative movements while facing shots Tuesday. He has said he won't play until he's confident he can be effective.

"It's been a big improvement the last three days as far as how it feels," Bishop said. "It's still not quite there, I'm still favoring it a little bit. It's a process, you can't just jump right in. It's encouraging; at least the last three days you're really seeing the improvement, moving a little bit better."

GOALIE CAROUSEL: The Penguins, facing elimination Tuesday, turned back to 21-year-old rookie G Matt Murray. Veteran G Marc-Andre Fleury had started Game 5, his first start since March 31, and admitted he was rusty in a 4-3 overtime loss.

PK PROWESS: One key for Tampa Bay in this series has been the work of its penalty kill unit, which entered Tuesday having gone 13-for-16. The Penguins came into the series with the league's best playoff power play (27.5 percent).

"Once the power play gets clicking with confidence, they tend to get on a roll, but nobody gives the penalty kill credit for the exact same thing," coach Jon Cooper said. "If you look at some of the things in this series and the playoffs, a lot of really good things have happened after we've killed off a penalty. As I said before, penalties can give you a boost — or power plays can give you a boost, but so can a penalty kill. They've done an unreal job so far."

STEPPING UP: The Lightning has had success with a seven defensemen alignment this postseason, and part of that is the play of rookie D Slater Koekkoek. Koekkoek, 22, who played in nine regular-season games, appeared in his ninth playoff game Tuesday. In three of them he has logged at least 10 minutes, including late in games.

"I feel like I've earned it," Koekkoek said. "I think it's confidence, it's coach showing a little trust in me, that's what I'm hoping for."

Cooper said Koekkoek, a first-round pick in 2012, developed well in the American Hockey League.

"He always had that ability, but now he's got the confidence with that," Cooper said. "When you know you belong, it really helps you in this league, and I think with every minute he plays, he gets better and better and more confident. He's done a heck of a job for us."

NUTS AND BOLTS: C Steven Stamkos (blood clot) continued to skate with the team, saying Tuesday was the best he has felt yet, but his status hasn't changed and he didn't play in Game 6. … RW Mike Blunden is back in the Ottawa area for the birth of his child. … Rays RHP Alex Cobb was the Bolts Social captain Tuesday, several of his teammates watching from a suite.

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

Lightning's Ben Bishop doesn't play but continues to improve 05/24/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 12:19am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College football viewing guide for Week 4

    College

    COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 16: Defensive back Derrick Baity #8 of the Kentucky Wildcats is congratulated after intercepting a pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages) 775018963
  2. Why a true freshman quarterback doesn't kill FSU's title hopes

    College

    Florida State's James Blackman will make history Saturday when the No. 12 Seminoles host North Carolina State in their first game after Hurricane Irma.

    Florida State quarterback James Blackman warms up before a game against Alabama on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Atlanta. When Florida State's Deandre Francois, Georgia's Jacob Eason and Texas A&M's Nick Starkel all got hurt in their respective season openers, true freshmen ended up taking over the rest of the way.  (Joe Rondone/Tallahassee Democrat via AP)
  3. Cue the Scott Frost to Nebraska speculation

    Blogs

    Nebraska shook up the college sports world Thursday afternoon when it fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst.

    And that should scare UCF fans.

  4. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead

    College

    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  5. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.