LIGHTNING at BLACKHAWKS
Best-of-7 series tied 1-1
TV: NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
CHICAGO -- The biggest subplot heading into Game 3 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final did not have a resolution as of Monday afternoon.
Will Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop start against the Chicago Blackhawks after leaving Game 2 for undisclosed reasons, or will it be rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy?
"I don't know who is starting," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after the morning skate Monday. "I will find out after this media session. We have two capable goalies and we have 100 percent confidence in who is going to play. That's all I can say. One of them is playing. It's [Vasilevskiy] or [Bishop]. That will be determined tonight."
Bishop participated in the morning skate and was in the net normally occupied by the starting goalie. He also left the ice first, normally an indication he would be starting.
Vasilevskiy made saves on all five shots he faced Saturday in his 9:13 relief appearance to help the Lightning even the series.
The only people who don't seem that interested in the Lightning's goaltending puzzle, at least publicly, are the Blackhawks.
"We can't be concerned about their goalie," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said Sunday. "I think it's what we have to do to make it tough on their goalies, is what we talk about. We need more traffic. We need more shots. Whoever is in net, let's get to them."
Chicago has its own personnel issues to decide. Quenneville said rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and power forward Bryan Bickell "could play." Neither played in the first two games.
Bickell, a lineup regular, hasn't played in the series mainly because of an undisclosed upper-body injury. Quenneville said he thinks Bickell is healthy, so it will be interesting to watch Chicago's line rushes at the skate to see if he or Kris Versteeg is among the expected playing group.
Van Riemsdyk hasn't played in the NHL since Nov. 16 when he sustained a fractured patella, the first of two injuries requiring surgery this season. Should either play, it could have immediate repercussions, positive and negative.
Bickell's size and physicality could open some space for right wing Patrick Kane, who has been held off the score sheet thus far. Van Riemsdyk, who would make his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut on the NHL's biggest stage, could be considered a risk.
If he plays, veteran Brent Seabrook said simplicity would be the best approach.
"Just [try] to enjoy it," Seabrook said. "It's hockey. It's a game. They're big games, but it's just another hockey game. I don't know what else you'd say. I think you'd just sort of try to keep him calm, let him play his game. He's a great player. If he plays his game, he'll be fine."