Lightning hopes Ben Bishop stays hot against the Oilers
Here's a fun fact: Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop earned his first career shutout against the Oilers on Feb. 25, 2011, for the Blues. Tampa Bay hopes Bishop stays hot in tonight's game against Edmonton at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Bishop's nine wins are tied for second in the league. His 2.15 save percentage is eighth and his .925 save percentage is tied for ninth.
"Ben is stopping all the pucks he should stop and he's mixing in a few he shouldn't stop," coach Jon Cooper said. "And when your goaltender does that for you it gives you a really good chance to win."
For Cooper, a big factor is Bishop "works really hard in practice."
"I think he came with a little bit of a tag that that wasn't the case," Cooper added. "But he didn't come in here taking for granted he was going to be the No. 1 guy. He worked for it and he's really become, I think, good at turning the page. Last year when he used to get scored on you could see he was probably a little bit rattled. Now he gets scored on and he's like, 'Drop the puck, let's go.' That's a good demeanor to have in a goaltender."
Bishop, 26, also is playing for a spot on the United States Olympic team that will go to Sochi, Russia, in February. He faltered some at the world championships, losing his No. 1 job. But Predators and United States general manager David Poile said Bishop "absolutely" is on his radar.
Bishop, though, said, he is not thinking about the Olympics, and knows if he takes care of his business with the Lightning, the "great honor" of playing on the U.S. Olympic team "might or might not happen."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Going by the skate, forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie and defensemen Andrej Sustr and Keith Aulie are scratched. ... Labrie, who has zero points and is minus-3 in 10 games, has the best attitude. Of being scratched, he said, "I knew I wasn't playing 80 games (this season). I knew that from the start because of my role. Guys are faster than me. (Brett) Connolly got called up and he deserves a shot. I'm just waiting for when they need me out there. I'll be patient." ... Cooper continues to say he likes what Richard Panik is doing on the ice despite his minus-9. That stat, he said, is mostly from bad luck. If Cooper has a nit with Panik it is that he has just seven shots on goal and four came in one game, Oct. 26 against the Sabres. "He's got much more in him than he's shown," Cooper said. "If you polled the guys, (he has) a top-three shots on our team. He's got to use it. He gets caught in that he wants to make that extra pass like so many players do. In this league you can't do it. Other than that, he's been fine." ... Another Bishop fun fact. Asked about a musical artist he is embarrassed he likes, he said Whitney Houston. ... Tampa Bay plays 12 games in 23 games beginning tonight. ... The Lightning will wear military camouflage jerseys during warmups for tonight's game.