Blackhawks

Lightning goalie situation up in the air heading into Game 3

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Lightning goalie situation up in the air heading into Game 3

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper was asked the inevitable question on Sunday, not long after he and the Lightning arrived in Chicago.

Know who your starting goaltender is for Game 3 against the Blackhawks?

“No, I don't, which would tell you, if I don't know, that Bish could be available,” Cooper said, referring to Ben Bishop, who started, but didn’t finish, Game 2 on Saturday night. “You'll have a better indication, I guess, tomorrow at the skate. Although our morning skates are all optional anyway; Bish, notoriously, he goes on sometimes during [optional skates] and sometimes he doesn’t. I’m sure you’ll get a clue then tomorrow.”

We’ll all get that clue at some point on Monday, although it may not be until game time. Will the starter be Bishop, who came out of the game, returned, then came out again for good in the third period on Saturday night? Or will it be backup Andrei Vasilevskiy, who came in relief of Bishop, stopped five shots and got the victory because he was in net when Jason Garrison scored the game-winning goal?

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“Yeah, we're not sure. “If we were, probably wouldn't tell you anyway,” Steven Stamkos said to laughs. “About Vasi, we have full confidence in him. I know a lot of us talked about it last night after the game.”

The Lightning talked of having faith in either of their goaltenders much like the Blackhawks did in the first round, when a struggling Corey Crawford was replaced by Scott Darling, who played well, before Crawford regained the net. It’s still a mystery what’s ailing Bishop. TVA Sports reported Bishop suffered a knee injury. Illness and dehydration were also possible issues.

[ALSO: Could Q separate Toews, Kane in Game 3?]

The Blackhawks aren’t too familiar with Vasilevskiy; Teuvo Teravainen knows the Russian goaltender some from international play.

“I think I've scored on him before, too,” said Teravainen with a smile. “I know they're [both] good goalies.”

Who’s starting in net for the Lightning? At the moment, we haven’t a clue. The Blackhawks don’t know either, but it won’t alter their game. They still want to get plenty of shots on him, still want to crash the net, still want to capitalize on rebounds.

“I think you approach any goalie the same way,” Brent Seabrook said. “[Vasilevskiy] played great for them the last, I don't know, five or six minutes the last game. You want to try to continue to get pucks and bodies at the net, make it tough for him to see. Get traffic. That's pretty much what you want to try to do.”

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

Should Kirby Dach see more ice time? What should the Blackhawks do with Erik Gustafsson? Has Robin Lehner separated himself in the goalie tandem?

Patrick Sharp and Charlie Roumeliotis join Pat Boyle to discuss that and much more on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast. Plus, you'll hear Robin Lehner's postgame comments after the loss to the Golden Knights and why he thinks the Blackhawks are "really close" to putting it all together.

1:08 - Blackhawks come up with best defensive effort of the season

2:52 - Changes made to the power play units

4:14 - Evaluating Erik Gustafsson's play so far

6:04 - Who fills in after the Connor Murphy injury

7:49 - Patrick Sharp remembers Patrick Kane rookie season

9:08 - What does the future hold for Kirby Dach?

12:04 - Struggles of the Blackhawks' top-six

14:44 - Another strong performance by Robin Lehner

16:33 - Lehner's strong post-game comments after Vegas loss

20:07 - How to handle the goalie-split going forward

23:25 - Biggest thing the Blackhawks need to improve upon

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'

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AP

Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'

The Blackhawks are expected to be without defenseman Connor Murphy for "a couple weeks" after he left in the second period of Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights because of a groin injury, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after the game.

It's the same injury that sidelined Murphy for the season opener in Prague, which is unfortunate given his promotion to the top pairing with Duncan Keith has provided some stability on all three pairings. 

"Obviously that's a blow for us," Colliton said. "It's an opportunity for other guys. We think we need to continue to build depth. That's what we're going to need. We can't just play with six D or seven D all year. You're going to need more than that. That'll be an opportunity for other guys to grow."

Slater Koekkoek is serving as the seventh defenseman right now and he's the likely candidate to slide into Murphy's spot in the lineup. But the Blackhawks might be inclined to make a call-up from Rockford as insurance.

Dennis Gilbert started the season with the Blackhawks because Murphy and Calvin de Haan were not cleared to play overseas, so he's a potential candidate to be brought back up.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.