TAMPA – The Lightning went through its typical morning skate and media availability today before Game 7. A few notes:
Lightning coach Jon Cooper said the absence of Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall won’t affect his team’s preparation or game plan.
“For us, it changes nothing,” Cooper said. “Detroit’s going to dress 20 players. My job is to beat the Detroit Red Wings.”
The league announced Kronwall’s suspension for Game 7 on Tuesday night. Kronwall delivered a high hit to wing Nikita Kucherov, with the “significant head contact” coming from Kronwall launching himself into Kucherov.
Kucherov said he feels fine but didn’t say much else about the hit, calling it a league decision.
Cooper said the Lightning will consider using 11 forwards and seven defensemen again. The team is 2-0 when it’s done so this series.
“I think it gives you a different look,” Cooper said. “It gives you different options. I like having the extra defenseman there. I could go down the list of reasons why. It’s not just one.”
Cooper said the Lightning will have 21 players skate during the pre-game warmup and will make a decision on the lineup after that.
One key thing Cooper wants the Lightning to improve upon: Taking fewer penalties.
“We have to be more disciplined,” Cooper said. “We took seven penalties the other day. We’re playing with fire if we do that again.”
Goalie Ben Bishop has consistently said he treats every game the same, and this one is no different. He said he slept fine last night and will try to take his normal pre-game nap. Even though it’s a Game 7, it’s not the exact situation most players always dream about.
“You think about maybe Stanley Cup (finals) Game 7,” Bishop said. “You don’t think about first-round Game 7. It should be a lot of fun.”
The Lightning announced Thursday afternoon that Game 1 of its first round playoff series with the Red Wings is sold out. There are still limited number of tickets available for Game 2 Saturday.
Tonight's game starts at 7:30 pm and is televised locally on Fox Sports Florida.