The Tampa Bay Lightning held their pregame morning skate today in Raleigh in preparation for tonight’s 7 p.m. puck drop against the division-rival Carolina Hurricanes. Here are some of the key takeaways leading up to tonight’s game:
LINEUPS, INJURIES AND ILLNESSES
Newly-acquired goaltender Ben Bishop will get the start in net tonight for the Bolts, making his Lightning debut.
Bishop, acquired yesterday from Ottawa in exchange for forward Cory Conacher and a fourth-round draft pick, has gone 8-5-0 in 13 games this season with the Senators, posting a 2.58 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.
The Lightning captain, Vincent Lecavalier, will also be back in the lineup tonight after recovering from a broken foot that saw him miss nine games.
Same goes for wing Brett Connolly, who on Wednesday was called up from AHL Syracuse.
Connolly, making his first appearance in the NHL this season, had 27 goals, 57 points and a plus-15 rating in 67 games this season with the Crunch prior to his recall. Judging by the lines at the morning skate today, it appears Connolly will start on a line with Lecavalier and Richard Panik.
Anders Lindback also skated in full gear today for the first time since suffering an ankle injury on March 20, but of course, will not play tonight.
Nate Thompson remains out of the lineup tonight, as he will serve the second and final game of his two-game suspension
NOTES AND NUMBERS
-Mathieu Garon has gone 3-0-0 this season against Carolina, but of course will sit tonight’s contest out in favor of Bishop.
-In both games thus far under head coach Jon Cooper, the Lightning have overcome two-goal deficits and have put together a record of 1-0-1 throughout his tenure.
-Tampa Bay will be looking to snap a three-game road losing skid tonight that began on March 20 in Toronto
-Newly acquired goaltender Ben Bishop has a record of 4-1-0 over his past five games, including one shutout
-Alex Killorn has scored third period, game-tying goals in two straight games
-The Bolts own a record of 8-3-1 against the Southeast Division this season
THEY SAID IT
Jon Cooper, on goaltender Ben Bishop getting his first Lightning start tonight:
“He's rested. He's a good goaltender. His numbers are good. He's proven himself in this league. We traded for him for a reason, so why not put him out there and see what he's got.”
Ben Bishop, on making his first Lightning start in net:
“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I bring a big presence, you know, hopefully I can play the puck a lot, help the D out and get some wins.”