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Lightning happy with chances, believe goals will come

by Arpon Basu

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to polish their play in the offensive end in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Lightning were the top scoring team in the NHL during the regular season but have scored nine goals in four games in the Final thus far despite carrying the play for the large majority of the series. Tampa Bay had 25 shots on goal but beat Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford once in a 2-1 loss in Game 4.

"We just got to keep generating chances, keep shooting the puck," Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn said Saturday. "I think it's just a matter of capitalizing on chances. We got our chances [in Game 4] and it's just a matter of the puck going into the net. I don't think it's forcing it one way or the other."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper will once again have 21 players take the warm-up and it's possible he could turn to rookie forward Jonathan Drouin to help spur the offense. Drouin said a decision on his status will be made following the warm-up, as has been the case throughout the series and for much of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Cooper has preferred going with seven defensemen and 11 forwards in three of the four games in the series, dressing defenseman Nikita Nesterov and scratching Drouin in those games. The loss in Game 4 dropped the Lightning's record to 9-5 in the playoffs when they dress seven defensemen, which is still significantly better than their 5-5 record when dressing six defensemen.

Goaltender Ben Bishop took part in the morning skate and said a decision on his status will be made at some point in the afternoon. Bishop sat out Game 4 and rookie backup Andrei Vasilevskiy made 17 saves in the loss.

"It doesn't change anything from our perspective. It's just a matter of whoever is in net we feel good about," Cooper said. "Both goalies can play. That's a comforting feeling that we've got a lot of depth at that position."

With the best-of-7 series tied 2-2 the game Saturday could me a massive turning point, with the winner earning an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup in Game 6 in Chicago on Monday.

"It's an important game for both of our teams," Coburn said. "It's a pivotal game, absolutely."

However, according to NHL public relations, the team that has lost Game 5 in a series that was previously tied 2-2 has gone on to win the Stanley Cup in four of the past seven times the situation occurred.

Here are the projected lineups for Game 5:


Patrick SharpJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Brandon SaadBrad RichardsPatrick Kane

Kris VersteegAntoine VermetteTeuvo Teravainen

Andrew DesjardinsMarcus KrugerAndrew Shaw

Duncan KeithNiklas Hjalmarsson

Kimmo TimonenBrent Seabrook

Johnny OduyaTrevor van Riemsdyk

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Bryan Bickell, Kyle Cumiskey, David Rundblad, Antti Raanta, Daniel Carcillo, Ville Pokka, Phillip Danault, Ryan Hartman, Joakim Nordstrom, Viktor Svedberg

Injured: Michal Rozsival (left ankle fracture)


Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Steven Stamkos

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

J.T. Brown - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Brian Boyle - Brenden Morrow

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn - Jason Garrison

Matthew Carle - Andrej Sustr

Nikita Nesterov

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Jonathan Drouin, Jonathan Marchessault, Vladislav Namestnikov

Injured: none

Status report: Aside from Bishop and the decision affecting Drouin and Nesterov, there should be no other lineup changes for the Lightning.

Who's hot: Stamkos got his first point of the series with a secondary assist on Killorn's goal in Game 4. … Hedman and Callahan share the team lead with four points apiece in the series.

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