Sunday, September 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning cruises past Oilers for fifth win in seven games

TAMPA — Ben Bishop may be the Lightning's biggest decision at next week's trade deadline.

You have the best goalie in franchise history playing his best hockey of the season. Bishop, 30, has won five straight starts, including Tuesday's 4-1 victory over the Oilers at Amalie Arena. Over that span, Bishop has allowed a combined six goals, helping Tampa Bay stay in striking distance of a playoff berth.

"He's just in command of his game," coach Jon Cooper said. "He looks intimidating when he's in there."

You ride the hot hand, right? But for how long? Bishop may be in his last week in a Lightning uniform, his name a part of trade speculation leading up to the March 1 deadline. Bishop is an unrestricted free agent next summer, when Tampa Bay would lose him for nothing.

Play him or trade him. It's a tough call for general manager Steve Yzerman.

"I don't want to lose any of our guys at the trade deadline," Cooper said. "We're in a different position now than we've been since I've been here. I don't believe in the whole buyers and sellers. It's how are we going to make the playoffs?

"This team has stayed together three straight years, we've had the same group and had a lot of success with that group. We've got this group in the room and we're going to roll with them."

Bishop isn't the only trade target among Lightning players. Center Brian Boyle, also a pending unrestricted free agent, is drawing interest from Tuesday's opponent, the Oilers, Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs, among others. Tyler Johnson, whose Triplets line is on fire (eight points Tuesday), could be an answer for a top-six forward for the Islanders or Predators, with both teams having scouts at Tuesday's game.

But the writing on the wall for Bishop's departure began at June's NHL draft, when he was nearly dealt to the Flames. When asked the likelihood of Bishop remaining with Tampa Bay after the deadline, Yzerman declined to answer. But Yzerman made it clear he isn't giving anyone away.

It's hard to know what the market is for goaltenders. Calgary, which is in town Thursday, may have some interest. And Bishop, who has a partial no-trade clause, already considered the Flames enough over the summer to talk contract.

But for now, Bishop remains. Just don't expect him to get all the starts. Cooper said Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has also played well, will continue to get time, too.

"There's no sense in sitting here saying, 'We're going to ride one,' " Cooper said. "Is playing one guy two in a row riding him? I say playing someone 10 games in a row is riding him. I don't see that happening."

Cooper said the team's improved defensive play and Bishop's resurgence go hand in hand. While it can, the Lightning should hand the net to Bishop.

"I feel like I'm getting some bounces now, not getting many fluky ones," Bishop said. "Guys are playing well and it's kind of a snowball effect. Hopefully we can keep building."

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

Lightning1124
Oilers0101

First Period1, Tampa Bay, Palat 12 (Kucherov), 4:26. PenaltiesHedman, TB, (tripping), 5:29.

Second Period2, Tampa Bay, Palat 13 (Johnson, Kucherov), 0:16. 3, Edmonton, Pakarinen 1 (Klefbom, Larsson), 10:17. PenaltiesBenning, EDM, (hooking), 17:51.

Third Period4, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 22 (Stralman, Johnson), 0:49. 5, Tampa Bay, Namestnikov 8 (Kucherov), 19:59. PenaltiesLucic, EDM, (cross checking), 1:21; Dotchin, TB, (unsportsmanlike conduct), 1:21. Shots on GoalEdmonton 7-9-5—21. Tampa Bay 12-10-6—28. Power-play opportunitiesEdmonton 0 of 1; Tampa Bay 0 of 1. GoaliesEdmonton, Brossoit 1-1-0 (27 shots-24 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 16-12-3 (21-20). A19,092 (19,092). Referees—Frederick L'Ecuyer, Chris Rooney. LinesmenDevin Berg, John Grandt.

Comments
Lightning journal: Roster trimmed to 28

Lightning journal: Roster trimmed to 28

TAMPA – After Sunday morning, the Lightning sat five cuts away from having a 23-man roster to start the regular season.It cut its training camp roster by 27, leaving 28 players on the roster with the start of the regular season less than two we...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning forward prospect Boris Katchouk putting together strong preseason

Lightning forward prospect Boris Katchouk putting together strong preseason

TAMPA — As the end of training camp looms, there's no clear-cut answer as to how the Lightning will fill the one, maybe two open forward spots in its lineup.It could go with Adam Erne. Spending much of his time in AHL Syracuse the past three se...
Published: 09/22/18
Lightning journal: ‘No-risk’ forward pickup; another preseason win; Fan Fest on Sunday

Lightning journal: ‘No-risk’ forward pickup; another preseason win; Fan Fest on Sunday

TAMPA — It didn't take long for Lightning GM Julien BriseBois to decide he wanted to put a waiver claim in Friday.Not when he saw that F Danick Martel was available."He's a player we have had on our radar for a while, going back to actually his...
Published: 09/22/18
Lightning journal: Adam Erne looks to stick in Tampa

Lightning journal: Adam Erne looks to stick in Tampa

Forward Adam Erne flicks the puck into the net, but he has no time to celebrate.He flips around. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Snow flies off his skates. Erne then squares his body as he arrives in the defensive zone, steps away from the net.Within a secon...
Published: 09/21/18
Lightning falls to Hurricanes again in preseason

Lightning falls to Hurricanes again in preseason

The Lightning did not fare much better in its second preseason crack at the Hurricanes.In fact, it did worse.It lost 6-1 Wednesday in Raleigh, N.C.Carolina put a much more veteran team on the ice than it did Tuesday in winning Tampa Bay's preseason o...
Published: 09/19/18
Second-round pick Gabriel Fortier among Lightning’s early cuts

Second-round pick Gabriel Fortier among Lightning’s early cuts

One round of cuts down, several more to go.The Lightning cut seven players on Wednesday, five of whom were training camp invitees, the team announced. All seven players were assigned to juniors.Gabriel Fortier was the most notable cut. The Lightning'...
Published: 09/19/18
Lightning journal: Can Mathieu Joseph sneak his way onto the opening-day roster?

Lightning journal: Can Mathieu Joseph sneak his way onto the opening-day roster?

It remains to be seen if F Mathieu Joseph will make the Lightning's roster. If he doesn't, it certainly won't be because of a lack of opportunities.Joseph saw time on the Lightning power play and penalty kill on Tuesday at Amalie Arena when Tampa Bay...
Published: 09/19/18
Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Falling just short of winning a championship the past few seasons has done nothing to erode fans' confidence in the Lightning.Not just locally, but also nationally and across Canada.The Lightning is the runaway favorite to win the Stanley C...
Published: 09/19/18
Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

TAMPA — How big is FitzMagic? It has hit the Lightning, too.Proving that Harvard guys stick together, Lightning forward Alex Killorn showed support for fellow Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick by, sort of, dressing up the way Fitzpatrick did after ...
Published: 09/19/18
Even if it’s just preseason, it matters

Even if it’s just preseason, it matters

TAMPA — It's a little after 10 o'clock on Tuesday morning.The NHL's intense regular season is still more than three weeks away. The uber-intense Stanley Cup playoffs are still seven months away.But, on this particular September day on a sheet o...
Published: 09/18/18