Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Bishop leading Lightning resurgence

BOSTON — For Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, an important element of success this season has been, as he said, his ability to "see" the puck.

Perhaps, though, a more appropriate discussion would be about his ability to "find" the puck. Case in point: a glove save Bishop made Saturday on a shot from the slot by Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk.

"I looked to my right and I was screened," the Lightning goaltender said. "I was able to look left and was able to find it. If you're not feeling good, maybe you just go down."

It certainly has been a feel-good season for Bishop, 26, who not only won the No. 1 job but has stats mingling with the game's best.

His 11 victories are tied league for the league lead. His 2.12 goals-against average was 10th entering Sunday, and his .927 save percentage was 11th.

During a four-game winning streak that includes Saturday's 3-2 overtime win over the Red Wings and has the 12-4-0 Lightning atop the East, Bishop has a 1.48 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage.

Say what you will about Stamkos' 14 goals and 23 points, both of which are tied for the league lead. That is Stamkos being Stamkos. Bishop's success has been like adding a missing piece.

"He's been huge," Stamkos said, no pun intended, considering Bishop is 6 feet 7. "He helps you win games when you're not playing your best. To be able to count on him to give us a chance to get two points is a pretty cool feeling. That's a big reason we're off to this start. You want to ride that wave as long as you can."

"Ben is stopping all the pucks he should," coach Jon Cooper said, "and he's mixing in a few he shouldn't."

What goes unnoticed, Cooper said, is Bishop's ability to play the puck: "I throw him up there with (Phoenix and former Lightning goalie) Mike Smith as potentially the top two or three guys who play the puck in this league."

"He's kind of like a third defenseman," defenseman Matt Carle said. "He's able to make plays, and that's a huge help for us."

Bishop played just 45 games in three previous seasons with the Blues and Senators. But with time came experience and maturity, he said.

Given a chance to compete with Anders Lindback for the starting job, Bishop, acquired in April from Ottawa for Cory Conacher, had "a good summer" of training. And though Cooper said Bishop always worked hard, he now practices with the intensity with which he plays.

"I think he came with the tag that wasn't always the case," Cooper said.

"You learn how to prepare at this level," Bishop said. "You learn what works for you."

With back-to-back games today against the Bruins at TD Garden and Tuesday at Montreal, there is no guarantee Bishop will play against Boston.

The Bruins beat Tampa Bay twice this season by a combined score of 8-1. Bishop was pulled in the 5-0 loss Oct. 19 at Tampa after allowing four goals on 17 shots, though he got little help from his sluggish teammates.

Bishop said he is not looking for personal redemption, just competition.

"You always want to play against the best teams," he said. "Boston is one of the best teams out there, and you want to beat those guys."

For the Lightning which, including the 2011 playoffs, has lost eight straight games at Boston and 10 of 11, that would be something to see.

Comments
Lightning opens second round Saturday; time depends on opponent

Lightning opens second round Saturday; time depends on opponent

Game 1 of the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinals begins Saturday at Amalie Arena regardless of whether the Maple Leafs or Bruins win Wednesday's first-round series Game 7 to advance.Still in question is the start time.If the Bruins advanc...
Published: 04/24/18
Lightning plays the waiting game

Lightning plays the waiting game

TAMPA — Had Boston closed out Toronto on Monday, Game 1 of the Lightning-Bruins series would have been Wednesday. Instead, the Lightning returned to the ice Tuesday still awaiting its opponent for the conference semifinals that begin later this...
Published: 04/24/18
How the Lightning did its best work on the Devils shorthanded

How the Lightning did its best work on the Devils shorthanded

TAMPA — The Lightning rolled past the Devils in five games of the Stanley Cup playoffs quarterfinal series largely because the penalty kill became a beast, killing off 16 of 19, including the final 15 when down a man.Two of those three goals al...
Published: 04/24/18
Bruins … Leafs … doesn’t matter. Lightning’s got this

Bruins … Leafs … doesn’t matter. Lightning’s got this

TAMPA — The Bruins and Maple Leafs play Game 7 Wednesday night in Boston.Let them.Let them beat each other's brains in for all the Lightning care. Let it go to overtime. Let it go to six overtimes. Lightning players and coaches will be watching...
Published: 04/24/18
Bruins’ Brad Marchand: ‘You have to be willing to do anything … in order to win’

Bruins’ Brad Marchand: ‘You have to be willing to do anything … in order to win’

Brad Marchand might be the ultimate pest, but he's not the original.Not even in his own family.The Boston Bruins left wing writes in a first-person story published last week in The Players' Tribune that he got his inspiration from his younger br...
Published: 04/24/18
Lightning wait goes on: Leafs top Bruins to force Game 7

Lightning wait goes on: Leafs top Bruins to force Game 7

TORONTO — Frederik Andersen made 32 saves as the Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 3-1 to force a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series Monday night.William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Tomas Plekanec, into an empty net, scored for the Leafs, who tr...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/24/18
The key to the Lightning’s success

The key to the Lightning’s success

This is quite the run the Lightning is on over the past five years.A playoff appearance in 2014. A trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2015. A return to the Eastern Conference final in 2016. A near-miss of the postseason last season. And now back in the...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/24/18
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets. The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Mon...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

You knew those who work the scoreboard for the Lightning games at Amalie Arena would have an answer Saturday during Game 5 to the Devils using David Puddy during Game 4 at the Prudential Center. Puddy meets Homer Simpson. Actually, Puddy met Terry ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Published: 04/22/18