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Posted On Saturday, 06.13.2015 / 12:38 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Lightning happy with chances, believe goals will come

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to polish their play in the offensive end in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Lightning were the top scoring team in the NHL during the regular season but have scored nine goals in four games in the Final thus far despite carrying the play for the large majority of the series. Tampa Bay had 25 shots on goal but beat Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford once in a 2-1 loss in Game 4.

"We just got to keep generating chances, keep shooting the puck," Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn said Saturday. "I think it's just a matter of capitalizing on chances. We got our chances [in Game 4] and it's just a matter of the puck going into the net. I don't think it's forcing it one way or the other."

Posted On Wednesday, 06.10.2015 / 3:20 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Lightning's Drouin uncertain again about Game 4

CHICAGO -- Tampa Bay Lightning rookie forward Jonathan Drouin was told he would be in warmups and a decision on his playing status would be made prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Prior to Game 3 on Monday, Drouin did a pregame interview in French with TVA Sports during the warmups prior and said he believed he was playing. After warmups, Drouin was told he would not play.

Because he was asked to do the interview, Drouin said he assumed he was playing because scratched players are rarely asked to do interviews.

"I'm not the guy going looking for interviews," Drouin said. "Someone told me to go do an interview in the warmup and I did. It just happened."

Posted On Wednesday, 06.10.2015 / 3:06 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Lightning again mum on Bishop's status for Game 4

CHICAGO -- Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop took the morning skate Wednesday and was in the starter's net, but his status for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) remains up in the air.

If that sounds familiar to the situation prior to the Lightning's 3-2 win in Game 3 on Monday, that's because it is.

"I think we're in the same holding pattern as we were 48 hours ago," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

Bishop spoke to the media following the skate and did not have more to offer on the likelihood he would play, even though all signs pointed to him starting the game.

Posted On Monday, 06.08.2015 / 7:51 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Lightning's Bishop on starting Game 3: 'We'll see'

CHICAGO -- Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop took part in the morning skate Monday ahead of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), but neither coach Jon Cooper nor Bishop himself would confirm he was starting against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Bishop was the first goalie off the ice and was in the road team's net for the skate while Andrei Vasilevskiy was in the home net, which are usually indications Bishop would start.

Bishop held a news conference to discuss his status for Game 3 and said nothing about whether he will play.

"We'll see," Bishop said when asked if he felt well enough to play Monday.

Posted On Saturday, 06.06.2015 / 1:40 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks focus on 'redemption,' better performance

TAMPA -- The Chicago Blackhawks are apparently looking for redemption.

They are also looking to take a stranglehold on the Stanley Cup Final.

Despite leading the best-of-7 series 1-0 after stealing Game 1 with two late goals in less than two minutes, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is looking forward to having an opportunity to make up for what he felt was a poor performance when the puck is dropped Saturday for Game 2 (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"We definitely have energy, we got excitement," Toews said when asked about the Blackhawks looking loose in the morning skate. "We're eager to redeem ourselves and play better in Game 2. I think we're kind of embracing the pressure now, whereas I think in Game 1 there's always that sense of not knowing what to expect from another team and a team that you haven't seen much."

Posted On Friday, 06.05.2015 / 3:39 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks' van Riemsdyk likely won't play in Game 2

TAMPA -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk may play at some point in the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but it likely won't be in Game 2 at Amalie Arena on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville opened the door to using van Riemsdyk in Game 2 when he spoke Thursday, but a day later he appeared to be content with his defense.

"I think he's available," Quenneville said of van Riemsdyk. "I think we'll probably keep the same group on the back end."

That would mean David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey stay in the lineup; they combined to play 12:23 in Chicago's 2-1 win in Game 1.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 2:10 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Versteeg rejoins Blackhawks following birth of child

TAMPA -- The Stanley Cup Final can be an overwhelming experience, even if you've been through it before.

Compared to what Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg has just experienced, however, it should be a breeze.

Versteeg arrived in Tampa to join his teammates Tuesday after flying to Toronto on Monday to be with his wife, Brittany, as she gave birth to the couple's first child, a son, Jaxson James Versteeg.

"It's been a whirlwind," Versteeg said. "I said in hockey I've been able and fortunate to be a part of some great things, but nothing really compares to the birth of your child. It's been exciting and intoxicating, but now it's about getting ready for hockey."

Posted On Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 1:52 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks to keep Toews, Kane together for now

TAMPA -- All season long Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has preferred to keep his two best forwards on separate lines.

Now, at the most important time of the year, he has veered away from that philosophy of balance in favor of the fireworks that can be produced when captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane play together.

Toews and Kane will at least start Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) together on the top line with Brandon Saad, giving the Tampa Bay Lightning a high-powered line to worry about shutting down.

"Last two games, they were so good together, it's tough to get them apart now," Quenneville said, referring to Games 6 and 7 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks. "We'll see how the game goes matchup-wise. Certainly have some balance if you get them apart. Together, pretty dynamic the last two games."

Posted On Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 8:02 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Lightning forward Drouin hoping for chance in Final

TAMPA -- Jonathan Drouin is so accustomed to hearing the question at this point, the Tampa Bay Lightning rookie has the answer down pat.

Throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with Drouin a healthy scratch for all but three games, the forward has been asked what the experience has been like, how he is keeping up morale, and whether it is frustrating for the No. 3 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft to sit and watch his teammates pursue the Cup without him.

Now that the Lightning have reached the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, with Game 1 of the best-of-7 series at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), there was no reason for those questions to stop, and Drouin has perfected the answer.

"Yeah, pretty much," Drouin said with a laugh Tuesday at Media Day. "It's really tight now."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.12.2015 / 1:48 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Lightning series blog

Canadiens' confidence never waned during series

TAMPA -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was asked prior to Game 3 here, having lost the first two games of the Eastern Conference Second Round series at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning, whether having two days off helped him make the necessary adjustments to turn the series around.

"Honestly, we don’t have that many adjustments to make," Therrien said.

When the Canadiens went on to lose Game 3 later that night 2-1 on a last-second goal by Tyler Johnson to go down 3-0 in the best-of-7 series, the quote resonated back in Montreal as a kiss of death.

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Quote of the Day

It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.

— Sabres forward Tyler Ennis on the progress of Buffalo's rebuilding process