Lightning focused on returning home with 2-0 series edge

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The Lightning have a golden opportunity to return to the Bay Area with a 2-0 series edge in the Eastern Conference Final.

  • Lightning play Game 2 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals versus the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night at 8 p.m.
  • Tampa Bay currently leads the series, 1-0

"We’ll be a lot happier if we go down to Tampa 2-0, instead of 1-1,” said Lightning center Tyler Johnson.  "Pittsburgh is a good team, we can’t look at Game 1 anymore.  We’ve got to focus on Game 2.”

“That’s our focus right now,” said Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn.  "Game 1 is in the books here.  We’ve taken a look at the tape a little bit.  We talked about it, but that’s in the past.  We know the Penguins are going to come out ready to go for Game 2 and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to go too.”

Penguin stars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are both struggling to score. For Malkin, it is a six-game scoring drought.  For Crosby, it is eight.  

However, the Lightning know that players of their caliber don’t stay quiet for long.

“I don’t know how dry they are?” said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.  "Doesn’t Crosby have 10 points in the playoffs?  11 points in the playoffs. That’s probably a lot more than a lot of other guys that are playing in the playoffs right now.”

"I think Sidney’s ‘dry spell’ is most player’s hot spell.  We have to respect them. That’s the one thing our guys do. They respect all these guys, but they don’t fear anyone.”

The fear level for Ben Bishop is considerably lower than when he first went down Friday night.  He is considered day-to-day with a lower body injury and did not practice Sunday, but he did candidly speak to the media about his experience.

"A feeling that I never felt, then all of a sudden pressure and pain,” said Bishop when describing the immediate moments after getting hurt. "First thing I thought I broke my leg.”

"That’s what I was thinking. You just think of the worst. Just upset. You think you’re season is over and you’re summer is over. How long is it going to take to get back?  It’s funny how much stuff you can think about in a short amount of time.”

How long is it going to take to get back is still a question for which everyone wants an answer.  

“It feels better than it did [Saturday] and it’s just a matter of getting to where you think you can go out there and help the team win.  It’s not too painful, right now, but going out there and playing hockey is different than just walking around.”

That is why Bishop is fully endorsing back-up Andrei Vasilevskiy to play in Game 2, if necessary.  

“Personally, I know that he can go in there and do the job,” said Bishop. "He’s a young guy, but he’s got a lot of experience.  He got to play in a Stanley Cup Final game last year and played really well and he’s played well all season."

Vasilevskiy finished Game 1 for Bishop with 25 saves.  

NUTS AND BOLTS

-Steven Stamkos practiced in a regular jersey for his full-contact skate Sunday. (Friday’s morning skate before a game was no-contact)  He participated in line rushes and penalty kill drills without too much hitting.

-Jon Cooper said defenseman Anton Stralman is day-to-day and that he isn’t favoring anything.  A return in Game 2 is possible.

-Game 2 is Monday 8 p.m. at Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center

Bay News 9 – local-news

May 15, 2016 |

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