Coach Jon Cooper won't name Game 3 starting goalie

CHICAGO -- After pre-empting his news conference following Game 2 on Saturday to make clear he would not answer questions about his goaltenders, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper employed a different tactic Sunday afternoon.

When asked about the status of starting goaltender Ben Bishop, who was forced from Saturday's 4-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks for unrevealed reasons, Cooper used humor to evade the question.

"Well, in honor of the 11-year anniversary of our organization's first Stanley Cup," Cooper began, "how would John Tortorella answer that question?"

Pressed on whether he knew who would be the starter in Game 3 on Monday night -- Bishop or 20-year-old backup netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy -- Cooper said he did not.

Cooper indicated that it should be pretty clear by Monday's morning skate and that there is a possibility Bishop will be available.

Bishop walked past media members at the team's downtown hotel and displayed no noticeable limp or signs of distress.

Still, the uncertainty over who will fill the Lightning crease remains.

"We're not sure," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "If we were, probably wouldn't tell you anyways."

The 28-year-old Bishop has had a strong postseason, silencing many critics who wondered whether he was equipped to handle the big stage. But twice on Saturday night, Bishop exited the game, thrusting Vasilevskiy into action.

The young Russian stepped in without a hiccup, stopping all five shots faced to preserve a 4-3 win and allow the Lightning to send the series back to Chicago tied 1-1.

Cooper said the team will be fine if it has to go to Plan B on Monday, as he called Vasilevskiy the team's most prepared player.

"If Bish can't go tomorrow, is that a blow to us? Sure it is. But do we think the series is lost because Vasilevskiy is going in? Not a chance," Cooper said. "I don't know. I look at our tandem. I'd like to stack them up against any tandem in the league because I think we've got, you know, 1 and 1A."

Should Vasilevskiy play, the Blackhawks will be facing a relative unknown considering his limited body of work this postseason. He has made only three appearances in the playoffs, all in relief.

Regardless of who is in net, Chicago's game plan is unlikely to change significantly.

"I think you approach any goalie the same way," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "He's 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 forward Teuvo Teravainen, who is having a breakout of his own in the finals, said he has some experience facing Vasilevsky in international play.

He didn't seem too concerned.

"I don't really care who's going to be in the net," Teravainen said. "I know they're good goalies both. Especially, I've played against Vasilevskiy twice with the international team, so I know him a little bit. I think I've scored on him before too."

The Lightning stressed that they will not drastically alter their strategy regardless of who leads them onto the ice at the United Center. The club has confidence in both goaltenders.

"As long as they don't need me to back up or anything like that, doesn't change anything for me," veteran defenseman Braydon Coburn joked.