RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will turn to new goaltender Ben Bishop on Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes, one day after the former Ottawa Senators netminder was acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline. He was relaxed when he met the media after the team's morning skate.
"Your first game, you want to show what you can do for the guys," said Bishop, who has a 2.45 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. "At the same time, I've been doing this for a little bit now and one game is not going to make the year."
His first challenge, he figures, is getting to know his teammates before he takes the ice Thursday night.
"The biggest thing is trying to learn everybody's names on the ice real quick and not have to think about it before you call their name," he said. "So that will be the hardest thing. After a couple days I'm sure I will have it down."
The Lightning forward group will have a new look as well, with team captain Vincent Lecavalier returning to the lineup after a nine-game absence due to a lower-body injury reported to be a broken foot. Lecavalier skated Thursday morning in a regular jersey, rather than a red, no-contact jersey. He confirmed his return to the lineup to reporters after practice.
Also getting into the lineup will be Brett Connolly. The team's first-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft has spent the entire season with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, refining his game after a season on the Tampa Bay roster in 2011-12. Under the guidance of Jon Cooper for most of the season in Syracuse, Connolly now gets a chance to play for Cooper in the NHL.
"He's matured," Cooper said of Connolly. "He's a much different player than he was when I had him in October -- just little things, like getting him to stop at the net instead of going behind the net and waiting for the cycle. Bottom line is he's a goal scorer, so you have to get to the net."
Connolly found the scoring touch in Syracuse; after a four-goal NHL season in 2011-12, he hit the net 27 times in Syracuse this season leading up to his recall.
"I played a lot of key minutes with Syracuse, and confidence is my game," Connolly said. "It was nice to score again and get better defensively and round out my game. I'm very excited to be here."
Here are the projected lineups for the game Thursday:
Eric Brewer -Matthew Carle
Suspended: Nate Thompson