Cooper unsure if Bishop will play Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final
BRANDON, Fla. – The intrigue surrounding Ben Bishop's status for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final will extend into Saturday.
On Friday, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper said the team will have a better indication during Saturday's morning skate at Amalie Arena whether the goaltender will appear in Game 5. Bishop, who didn't play in Game 4 on Wednesday at the United Center, has been dealing with an undisclosed injury since exiting twice in the third period of Game 2 at Amalie Arena. He made 36 saves in Tampa Bay's win in Game 3 at the United Center.
Bishop, 28, was nowhere to be seen during the Lightning's practice Friday morning at the Ice Sports Forum. Still, Cooper said not to look too much into the development.
"Don't be alarmed that he's not out there," Cooper said. "I'm not going to sit here and commit as to whether he's going to play Saturday. He's feeling better with each day. When we made the decision not to play him the other night, the decision just wasn't made, 'Oh, we're not going to play him.' It's, 'We're not playing you, and you're taking the next three days off.' This was all in the plan."
If Bishop can't play Saturday, reserve goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy will receive his second start in the Stanley Cup Final after making 17 saves in Game 4. The 20-year-old Russian said he'll prepare as if he'll be needed. The Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks enter the crucial Game 5 tied in the best-of-7 series at two games apiece.
"If Bish plays, I can be ready too," Vasilevskiy said. "Every game, I'm just ready."
Bishop is 13-9 with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage in 23 starts in this postseason. Vasilevskiy, meanwhile, is 1-1 with a 3.19 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage in four appearances during Tampa Bay's run in the Stanley Cup playoffs.