It’s being reported that the Tampa Bay Lightning will be without the services of both Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishop for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Bishop was injured early in Game 1 of this series – taken off on a stretcher with an apparent leg injury. While his status remains day-to-day, the Lightning continue to have faith in their backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Vasilevskiy stopped 38 of 41 shots in Game 2 and has done a fairly good job for the Lightning since taking over in relief of Bishop midway through the first period of Game 1. Overall he’s nabbed 63 of the 67 shots he’s faced in just over 100 minutes of playing time over the past two games.
Stamkos’ return to the lineup is a little more up in the air than the team’s starting goalie. He’s been out since March 31 dealing with a blood clot that has left the 26-year-old watching from sidelines as his team enjoys a significant playoff run.
Stamkos has 35 career points (15g-20a) in 48 playoff games – all with Tampa Bay. While there’s still optimism surrounding a possible Stamkos return in these playoffs, nothing is set in stone from a team perspective.
With the series tied at one game apiece, the Lightning will have to do a better job in front of Vasilevskiy if they want to see both Bishop and Stamkos suit up for them later in the playoffs. For now, they team will have to trudge on without two of their stars.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.