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Bishop, Conacher squaring off one week after trade

by Lonnie Herman /
TAMPA -- Two former teammates will be on opposite benches Tuesday when the Ottawa Senators visit Tampa Bay Times Forum to face the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Goaltender Ben Bishop, one of the principals in the April 3 trade in which the Lightning sent forward Cory Conacher to the Senators, will face his former team as he makes his fourth consecutive start. For Bishop, who is 1-2-0 with Tampa Bay, the start just adds to what has been a whirlwind week.

"I've been in six cities and two countries in four games, so it's been hectic," Bishop said. "But if you can't get excited for games like this, you've got a problem. The last week has been a lot of emotions, a lot of excitement and a lot of adrenaline."

Although it's not a situation easily taken in stride, Bishop said he knows that his job is to maintain his focus.

"I think once the puck drops it just goes back to a normal game and I won't think too much about it," said Bishop, who appeared in 13 games for the Senators this season. "This is the first time I've played against my ex-team, so it's a first for me, but I think that when the puck drops, all those distractions go away."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he's counting on the adrenaline to help Bishop and admitted it was a factor in picking his netminder for the game.

Down the hall, in the room used by the visiting team, Conacher was trying to get his bearings.

"It's definitely weird to be here in this locker room," Conacher said. "You're playing against guys you have built relationships with and you don't want to hurt them or hit them, but you have to."

Conacher appeared in 35 games for Tampa Bay this season and played with many of the current Lightning players in the NHL as well as in the American Hockey League, where the Lightning affiliate won a Calder Cup in 2012.

"There are mixed emotions," Conacher said. "Those are guys I played with a long time and built relationships. Off the ice, obviously we're friends, but on the ice it will be a battle. No hard feelings, but I want to win and this team wants to win."

Cooper, who coached Conacher in the AHL and briefly after his promotion to the Lightning, also expects that seeing his former player in the opposition's sweater will be disconcerting.

"It hurts," Cooper said. "Especially with guys that you've won with before and he was a big part of that. Seeing Cory Conacher on the other side of the ice will be a little odd. It will be a little surreal. I've gone to war with that kid for the last year and a half."

In other Lightning news, defenseman Mark Barberio is the latest player to ride the Syracuse-Tampa Bay shuttle. He will make his NHL debut Tuesday replacing Matt Taormina, who was called up from the AHL to replace injured Victor Hedman. Taormina appeared in two games before returning to Syracuse.

"It's time to get Mark in there," Cooper said. "He's done everything we've asked of him in the AHL for three years. Again, this is a case of, would we rather have Victor Hedman in there? Of course we would, but he's not available. So we're pulling up guys who have earned the right to be here and Mark certainly is that guy. He'll have to get his feet wet sometime."

Also returning for Tampa Bay is forward Ryan Malone, who has missed nine games with an injury to his left shoulder. He was activated from the injured reserve list before the game.

Here are the lineups each team likely will use Tuesday:

Guillaume Latendresse - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Cory Conacher - Mika Zibanejad - Jakob Silfverberg
Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Matt Kassian - Peter Regin - Erik Condra

Marc Methot - Eric Gryba
Patrick Wiercioch - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Andre Benoit

Craig Anderson
Robin Lehner

Scratched: Mike Lundin, Mike Hoffman
Injured: Erik Karlsson (Achilles), Milan Michalek (knee), Jason Spezza (back)

Ryan Malone - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Alex Killorn - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell
Richard Panik - Tyler Johnson - Brett Connolly
Pierre-Cedric Labrie - Nate Thompson - B.J. Crombeen

Eric Brewer - Matthew Carle
Keith Aulie - Sami Salo
Mark Barberio - Radko Gudas

Ben Bishop
Mathieu Garon

Scratched: Dana Tyrell, Tom Pyatt
Injured: Anders Lindback (ankle),  Victor Hedman (lower body)
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