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Bishop to miss rest of regular season, playoffs status unknown

by Missy Zielinski / Tampa Bay Lightning

Goaltender Ben Bishop will miss the three remaining games of the regular season for the Tampa Bay Lightning and his status for the playoffs has yet to be determined.

Though head coach Jon Cooper did not rule Bishop out for the first round of the playoffs, he did not offer a timetable for his return.

"It's not impossible that he could play in the first round at some point," Cooper said. "We're better off re-evaluating this early next week and seeing where he's at."

Eric Brewer #2 of the Tampa Bay Lightning helps injured goalie Ben Bishop #30 as Steven Stamkos #91 looks on

Bishop exited the game at the 5:43 mark of the first period after he dove in the air for a puck and landed hard on the left side of his body. Slow to get up and in obvious discomfort, Bishop was escorted off the ice by team trainer Tom Mulligan and defenseman Eric Brewer.

Though the possibility that Bishop's injury was not as serious as it looked, Cooper said it was also "discouraging when you sit back and watch replays of how it happened and you expect him to pop right up after that."

"It was kind of a freak thing that happened," Cooper said.

Anders Lindback came in relief for the Bolts and went on to earn his first win since January 11, and shared the 28-save shutout with Bishop. He was named the first star of the night's contest.

Cooper said if Tuesday's game is any indication of the Lightning's performance to come in the playoffs, which is likely to be a Round 1 matchup against the Montreal Canadiens, he is completely confident in his club, regardless of Bishop's status.

"If last night is the way we can play on a consistent basis, I like where we're headed," Cooper said. "I fully expect to move forward with or without Ben."

Sami Salo also succumbed to an upper body injury, skating just one shift in the second period, and is day-to-day. The ailment is not considered serious.

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