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Sporting two new teeth, Bolts' Ben Bishop ready to go

The Lightning goalie, who spent four hours in the dentist's chair Wednesday, is expected to start against the Devils

by Jeff Odom / TampaBayLightning.com

Ben Bishop will return to the ice with the Lightning tonight against the New Jersey Devils back to his usual look, thanks to some handy dental work.

The goaltender said he spent roughly four hours in a dentist's chair Wednesday getting two new front teeth and several stitches. Bishop took a shot from Peter Holland against the Maple Leafs on Oct. 25 that ricocheted squarely off the grill of his mask, costing him the chompers in the process.

Bishop remained in the game and made three more starts against the Canadiens, Rangers and Islanders to wrap up the team's six-game road trip before returning to Tampa to get the procedure.

"Two new teeth and some stitches later, I'm back. I'm good," Bishop said Saturday.

Video: Bishop on first start at home after road trip

Bishop, a Vezina Trophy finalist a season ago, was the first goalie off the ice following the team's optional morning skate at AMALIE Arena and is expected to make his eighth start. He enters 4-3-0 with a 3.30 goals-against-average.

Though he likely won't be biting into a filet mignon any time soon, Bishop said he didn't feel much pain the day after his surgery and expects to be ready for his first test against New Jersey this season.

"I feel good," he said. "I skated the last few days. There's no issues. I'm just excited to play tonight."

DROUIN SKATES: Lightning head coach Jon Cooper did not have an update on the condition of Jonathan Drouin, who will miss his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury he sustained in Tampa Bay's 6-1 rout of the Islanders on Tuesday. But the forward took a positive step Saturday, taking the ice before morning skate.

"He was on the ice today," Cooper said. "That was a good thing."

Though being without Drouin (two goals, three assists) is a difficult blow for Tampa Bay's offense, forward Brian Boyle said he believes the team possesses the necessary depth to work its way through the adversity.

"It's gonna happen," he said. "It's the way every team goes through it, and every guy's talked about it. It's just kind of the way it goes.

"We have some really good depth. We have guys that can fill in at different spots and when you're put in those spots, you're expected to do well."

SEEN YOU BEFORE: Tonight will be the third meeting between the Lightning and Devils in 12 games as the teams face off for the final time this regular season. But even more odd for Cooper is the fact they also met three times toward the end of last season -- once in February and twice in April.

The Bolts defeated the Devils 3-2 at AMALIE Arena on Oct. 15, but fell 3-1 in their lone trip to New Jersey last Saturday.

Video: Cooper on matchup with New Jersey Devils

"A little strange to see a team three times in a month, (but) how about six times in our last 20 regular season games, because we saw them three times at the very end of last year," Cooper said. "So it's really weird that we've played Jersey so much."

If there is one positive from facing a team so often, Cooper said, it's that the preparation time is made much easier.

"We know what this team is all about," he said. "Our biggest thing is sticking to our structure, because if you escape that against a team like New Jersey, who is really structurally sound, you're going to be in trouble. That's what happened to us last game. … That is something that we need to be cognizant of tonight."

THIS AND THAT: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos enters tonight's game on a three-game point streak. He is tied with Chicago's Artem Anisimov for the league goal lead with seven and is second overall in points at 13. … With one more assist, Victor Hedman will tie Dan Boyle for the most by a defenseman (187) in franchise history. … Tampa Bay has tallied four power-play goals in its past two games and 11 total, which is the third-best mark in the league. ... Following his guest appearance at Lightning practice on Friday, Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier tweeted:

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