MONTREAL — The Lightning will be without at least one goaltender for this afternoon’s affair with Montreal, but maybe not the one many figured to be injured.
Tampa Bay lost goaltender Anders Lindback to an ankle injury suffered on Thursday in Ottawa, when he played in relief of starter Ben Bishop, who left less than two minutes into the game when he was hit in the back of the head by teammate Nikita Kucherov.
That leaves the Lightning with the possibility of facing the Canadiens without its top two goaltenders, as well as second-leading scorer Valtteri Filppula, who left Thursday’s game early in the second period with a lower-body injury and is doubtful for today.
With the potential that both top goalies could be unavailable, the Lightning called up both Cedrick Desjardins and Kristers Gudlevskis from Syracuse on an emergency basis to join the team in Montreal. Syracuse played in Utica, N.Y., on Friday night, which is about a four-plus-hour drive away. Desjardins, who has five career NHL appearances all with Tampa Bay, including a victory against Montreal in his first career start on Dec. 30, 2010, would likely get the call if Bishop doesn’t play.
“We will have a goalie in there (today) I just don’t know what league his last game was from,’’ Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We got a little depth in goal. Is it ideal? No. Bishop has been a big part of our team this year, but if he can’t go then there are 19 other guys that are going to have to step up for whoever is in net. They have done it before, and I know we can do it again.’’
After Thursday’s game, Bishop said he had a slight headache but passed his baseline concussion test and was on the ice for practice Friday at Bell Centre after feeling no effects from Thursday night. Though Bishop said after practice he was feeling fine and good enough to play today, he could be held out for precautionary reasons. It is not unusual for concussion symptoms to show up a few days after a blow to the head.
“It was nice to be able to wake up and not have a bad headache or anything like that and be able to practice,’’ Bishop said. “So we’ll just have to see how it feels in the morning (today) and go from there.’’
If Bishop doesn’t play today, Cooper said he would expect Bishop to be ready for Tuesday’s game in Minnesota.
“It certainly could’ve been a lot worse,’’ Bishop said. “He kind of skimmed me. If he would have hit me direct on, I don’t know what would’ve happened, so I feel lucky.’’
Lindback, meanwhile, wasn’t as fortunate, as he is expected to be out until at least after the Olympic break after suffering a left ankle injury in the early stages of the second period when former Lightning forward Cory Conacher ran into him. Lindback said his left leg was pinned against the post as Conacher fell back on top of him, taking the brunt of weight of both players. Lindback remained in the game, allowing three goals after suffering the injury, but he knew right away that something was wrong and it affected his play the rest of the game.
“I could tell, it was exactly like last year (when I had a right ankle sprain), something popped, and I couldn’t really put any weight on it,’’ Lindback said. “It wasn’t great (to have to finish the game), but there weren’t too many options, I guess.’’
Lightning defenseman J-P Cote, who was on the ice when Lindback was injured, said while he had contact with Conacher that appeared to create the collision with the goaltender, Cote did not push the Senators’ forward into Lindback.
“He ends up bumping into me, and I haven’t seen the replay, but I really didn’t push him into Lindy,’’ said Cote, who won a Calder Cup with Conacher in Norfolk in 2011-12. “(What) he’s trying to do, he’s trying to stir things up. ... I don’t know if it was something on purpose or whatever, but it’s something that really bothers a defenseman and especially goaltenders.’’