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Cooper sticks with Lightning goalie Bishop for Game 5

by Corey Long /

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop has allowed five goals in consecutive games for the first time since March 2011.

But Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Saturday he has not entertained the thought of changing goalies for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports).

"I understand your question, but for somebody to sit here and say, 'Oh, are we changing the goalie?', it's asinine to me," Cooper said when asked if he had any thoughts of pulling Bishop.

"Asinine. Well, OK, we're not allowed to use that word in print? What would be another word for that? Preposterous. OK, that's one more syllable than asinine. It's more powerful. OK.

"I just don't think you get to this point of the season, or even in the playoffs, without good goaltending, and Ben Bishop has bailed this team out in some games. Has the team bailed Bishop out some games? Sure. But for the most part Bishop has been rock-solid back there."

Rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy is Bishop's backup. He allowed three goals on 26 shots in relief of Bishop in a Game 4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

Defenseman Braydon Coburn put his support behind Bishop, who is 10-7 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in these playoffs.

"He's a great goaltender and we lean on him a lot," Coburn said. "We expect him to be better as we expect our team to play better."

Coburn said there are a number of things the Lightning can do defensively to slow down the Rangers. New York is 6-for-13 on the power play in the past three games.

"Obviously our penalty kill ... we have to shut them down," Coburn said. "We can do a better job of limiting the quality of their chances. We also need to keep them outside because they are having success getting in front of the net."

The teams have scored 25 goals in the past three games.

"I think we've always said from Day One that we've got to take care of our net," Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison said. "Sometimes you can get away from that and concentrate more on the offense, but I don't think we want to play kind of back-and-forth hockey. That's not really our game plan, but it seems to have been like that the last couple games."

Cooper said the Lightning played well in a 5-1 loss in Game 4 on Friday that evened the best-of-7 series 2-2. However, he said the Lightning needed to move on regardless of the result.

"I liked our effort, we played hard," Cooper said. "We created a lot of chances to score, we just didn't score. It was a combination of us not executing, the Rangers playing good defense and [Henrik] Lundqvist being strong in goal. Bottom line is the Rangers won 5-1, the series is 2-2 and that probably is how it should be.

"We have to turn the page. Even after a win you have to turn the page."

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