Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop will make his preseason debut when he starts Friday against the Florida Panthers.
Bishop sustained a torn groin muscle during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks but played through the injury, missing one start in the six-game series.
"Naturally you want to see where he's at," coach Jon Cooper said, according to the Lightning website. "He's had a pretty good camp. But it's a slow process here with our regulars. This is when these guys start coming in to play a little bit more. [Bishop's] minutes will start picking up from here on in. Tonight's the first step. Get his feet wet here at home."
Bishop has been a full participant in training camp drills but said getting into a game is different.
"You have to get your timing back," he said, according to the Lightning website. "In practice guys are coming down uncontested, shooting the puck from the slot and no pressure. Now you have guys skating in front of you, taking your eyes away and guys changing lanes and angles. It's getting timing down, feeling the rush come at you. It's a big difference between summer hockey and your first game. There is an adjustment period of a game or two until you feel comfortable again."
Bishop will split time Friday with Kristers Gudlevskis, who also will make his preseason debut. Gudlevskis sustained an upper-body injury during a rookie tournament game Sept. 15.
Gudlevskis is among those competing for the backup spot to Bishop with the Lightning to start the season. Andrei Vasilevskiy had surgery Sept. 3 to remove a blood clot near his left collarbone, and is expected to be out 2-3 months.
"Vasilevskiy being out, this is a big time for somebody to take the spot behind [Bishop]," Cooper said. "For [Gudlevskis], you want him to have every opportunity to do so while he's healthy. Little nerve-wracking when he got hurt in the rookie tournament but it wasn't serious and he's back."