The Tampa Bay Lightning have struggled throughout the first half of the National Hockey League season, and an injury to former University of Maine goaltender Ben Bishop has been a contributing factor.

But according to an report, the native of St. Louis could be back between the pipes for the Lightning fairly soon.

According to the report, Bishop participated in practice on Wednesday for the second straight day, a positive sign he could return to the lineup soon.

Bishop was injured in a game in late December 2016 against the Detroit Red Wings. Another former Black Bear, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, was hurt in the same contest.

Tampa Bay has stumbled to a 3-5-1 record since Bishop’s injury. The Lightning are sixth in the Metropolitan Division with 42 points, 14 back of first-place Montreal.

According to the report, Bishop could suit up for the Lightning as early as Thursday when they entertain the Buffalo Sabres, or Friday at home against Columbus, when Martin St. Louis’ jersey will be retired.

Bishop has posted a 9-10-2 record with a save percentage of .907 and 2.79 goals against average. He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last season, presented to the NHL’s best goaltender.

Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective...