TAMPA BAY -- The Tampa Bay Lightning continue their season-long seven-game homestand when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Tampa Bay could have found an easier opportunity to put their three-game winning streak on the line against, as the Penguins enter the game having won six straight games and eight of their past 10 meetings against the Lightning, including a 6-3 win in one of the 16 games that Lightning coach Jon Cooper was behind the bench for last season.
"That game could just as well have been 16-2," Cooper said.
After that dominating performance, Cooper has circled this game on the schedule as an important test for the Lightning.
"This one I've been looking forward to," Cooper said. "Just in the sense that it is a measuring stick for us. This is the cream of the crop in the Eastern Conference. I know it's really early and I don't know how much you can take from it but on a personal side and for our team I want to see where we are at.
"To me, we need to hold our own against teams like this. And not only hold our own, but go into these games thinking we are going to win them. Maybe last year that wasn't the case at the end of the year."
Goaltender Ben Bishop, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered early in the third period of Thursday's win over the Florida Panthers, will sit out Saturday night as Anders Lindback gets his second start of the season. Cedrick Desjardins was recalled from Syracuse to back up Lindback.
Bishop is not expected to miss significant playing time and was on the ice for the morning skate.
"There probably would be no difference than him not getting his scheduled start and sitting on the bench instead of sitting in the stands," Cooper said. "He's a little bit sore and there is no sense putting him in the game. We've got more than capable goaltending in this organization so there is no problem in bringing somebody up."
Pittsburgh is playing the back end of two road games in two nights and held an optional skate Saturday with only a few players on the ice. Among them was defenseman Kris Letang, who is recovering from a lower-body injury.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - Beau Bennett
Dustin Jeffrey - Brandon Sutter - Chuck Kobasew
Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Rob Scuderi - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Olli Maatta - Robert Bortuzzo
Scratches: Deryk Engelland
Injured: Matt D'Agostini (lower body), Kris Letang (lower body), James Neal (upper body), Tomas Vokoun (blood clot)
Ryan Malone – Steven Stamkos – Martin St. Louis
Richard Panik – Valtteri Filppula – Alex Killorn
Ondrej Palat – Tyler Johnson – Teddy Purcell
B.J. Crombeen – Nate Thompson – Pierre-Cedric Labrie
Matthew Carle – Radko Gudas
Victor Hedman – Sami Salo
Eric Brewer – Andrej Sustr
Scratched: Keith Aulie, Mark Barberio
Injured: Tom Pyatt (collarbone), Mattias Ohlund (knee), Brian Lee (knee), Ben Bishop (lower body)