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Cooper unsure if Bishop will play Game 5 of final

BRANDON, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper is unsure if injured goalie Ben Bishop will return for Saturday night’s Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago.

Bishop sat out the Lightning’s 2-1 loss in Game 4 Wednesday night with an undisclosed lower body injury. The series is tied 2-2.

“I do not know sitting here today if Ben Bishop is going to play on Saturday,” Cooper said after Friday’s practice. “I hope he plays. I don’t know if he’s going to. He’s got to get back on the ice. If he’s not in the pregame skate (Saturday), that’s a pretty good indication of whether he’s going to play or not.”

Bishop didn’t practice Friday, which was predetermined.

“Bish, don’t be alarmed that he’s not out there,” Cooper said. “He’s feeling better with each day. When we made the decision not to play him the other night, the decision just wasn’t made, ‘Oh, we’re not going to play him.’ It’s, ‘We’re not playing you and you’re taking the next three days off.’

“This was all in the plan.”

Andrei Vasilevskiy will get another start if Bishop can’t go. The 20-year-old Russian rookie won Game 2 in relief, and played well Wednesday in his first playoff start, giving Tampa Bay little reason to worry about the potentially precarious position.

Vasilevskiy said he is ready.

“For sure,” he said. “That’s why I’m here. I’m very excited.”

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