The Penguins and Lightning are ready for Game 7 in Pittsburgh. For Tampa Bay, it’s going to take all hands on deck to win the series as they will still be without two of their top players in Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishop.
According to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper stated that there’s no news surrounding a possible return for either player.
“Nothing has changed on our end,” said Cooper in regards to Stamkos. “That’s all I got for you.”
Rosen also wrote that Cooper doesn’t “envision Bishop being an option” in their upcoming Game 7. That means that Andrei Vasilevskiy will remain in the Lightning net and that Tampa Bay will rest their fate on the shoulders of the 21-year-old goaltender who’s proven his worth since replacing Bishop.
It’s taken more balanced scoring from some of the Lightning depth players for Tampa Bay to take full advantage of their opportunities against a Pittsburgh team who’ve out-skated them for the most part of the Eastern Conference Finals.
While Matt Murray has been on top of his game (for the most part) at the other end of the rink, Tampa Bay will need to find a way to get the rookie goaltender off his game if they’re going to expose his weaknesses.
Stamkos did take part in the Lightning morning skate and – according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet – took part in the team meeting. While his status is unclear, it has been reported that his status is unchanged ahead of Game 7. With no Bishop or Stamkos, the Lightning will look to others to push them past the surging Penguins in Game 7.