Tampa timeshare: Bishop, Lindback will both start as No. 1s


The Lightning will begin the year with two starting goalies: Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback.

And, according to head coach Jon Cooper, they might just stick with it.

“People are going to say whoever gets the opening-game start must be their starting goalie. Well, he’s starting that night,” Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times, adding that he’s perfectly fine with a season-long timeshare.

“If that’s our winning formula,” Cooped explained, “then that’s how we do it.”

Lindback, 25, was supposed to have taken the starting job last season. Bolts GM Steve Yzerman acquired the lanky Swede from Nashville and didn’t provide him with much competition, save veteran journeyman Mathieu Garon.

Despite that, Lindback faltered and finished with pedestrian numbers: 10-10-1, 2.90 GAA and a .902 save percentage.

That played a part in Yzerman dealing Cory Conacher to Ottawa at the deadline in exchange for Bishop.

The 6-foot-7 netminder came boasting talent and was outstanding in relief of Sens starter Craig Anderson, but he too struggled in Tampa, finishing with a decent 9-3-4 record but a bloated GAA (2.99).

What’s more, Bishop played poorly for Team USA at the World Hockey Championships and lost his starting gig to 19-year-old John Gibson, who has yet to make his NHL debut.

As such, the Bolts are going to employ a “whoever plays best” strategy in deciding a starter for this season, and are encouraging competition in the crease.

“Their physical ability and their overall skill is at … an NHL level, there’s no doubt about it. What’s important is to gain experience,” said Tampa Bay goalie coach Frantz Jean. “You can’t teach experience, you have to live it, so it’s going to be to go through our season and manage the situation properly.”

Video: Wild score four in 5:07 for shock win in Colorado

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Everything was going great for the Avs in their season-opener against Minnesota on Thursday night.

Great until the third period, anyway.

In a stunning and dramatic comeback, the Wild erased a 4-1 deficit in just over five minutes — 5:07 to be exact — scoring four times to steal a 5-4 win at the Pepsi Center.

The comeback started early in the final frame, when Wild captain Zach Parise scored his second of the night at the 5:07 mark. Just over two minutes later, Nino Niederreiter snapped one past Semyon Varlamov to make it 4-3 and then, two minutes after that, Thomas Vanek scored to make it 4-4.

But the Wild weren’t done there.

Parise completed his hat-trick — the third of his career — with a power play marker at the 10:14 mark, an unassisted tally. When the dust finally settled on the 5:07 flurry, the Wild had combined to rack up nine points from eight different skaters.

Prior to the comeback, Colorado dominated proceedings with a goalscoring flurry of its own.

The Avs scored three times in the final seven minutes of the first period — including a pair of power play goals from Jarome Iginla and Erik Johnson — to race out to a (seemingly) commanding 3-0 lead.

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever


Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.