Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Despite loss, Lightning's Ben Bishop sticks with his game plan

BRANDON — When G Ben Bishop was with the Blues about eight years ago, he said a sports psychologist delivered a speech during training camp that has stuck with him, and it could play a role in his play in today's Game 2 against the Islanders.

Bishop said the psychologist talked about the law of averages and how there will be good games and bad games, but if you play and prepare the same way, you'll be successful more times than not.

"I've used it ever since," Bishop said. "I remember that clicked with me. It made sense."

And it has helped make Bishop one of the best at bouncing back from rough starts like Wednesday's, when he was pulled in the second period of a 5-3 Game 1 loss after allowing four goals on 13 shots.

Besides being a talented goalie — he's a Vezina Trophy finalist this season — Bishop has a mental maturity that allows him to turn the page quickly and rebound. He is 11-3-1 with a 2.24 goals-against average in 15 career regular-season starts immediately after a start in which he played no more than 40 minutes, the Elias Sports Bureau says.

Bishop said the key is not changing anything, not the preparation or how he plays.

"Since I've been a starter in the league, you kind of learn that there's going to be nights that don't go your way," Bishop said. "It's not a big deal. You can't put too much pressure on yourself to go out the next day and try to get a shutout. You go out there play the same way."

Bishop, pulled just one time during this regular season, was relieved twice during the playoffs last year. The most notable was after he allowed five goals on 26 shots in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final against the Rangers. He followed that up with a shutout in Game 7 in Madison Square Garden.

"He's just one of those guys that's not too high, too low. He stays the course," coach Jon Cooper said. "He's got so much confidence in his game. We have confidence in him. This is definitely not one of the situations where 'Bish' is afraid. (On Wednesday) I went over to him in the third and asked him if he was good. He was 'game on.' He could have gone right back in.

"Is he ticked off that he was pulled or how everything went? Sure he was. But he's mad at the situation and wants to jump right back in and rectify the situation. That's what he's really done well, as we've seen in the past."

STRALMAN SKATES: D Anton Stralman skated in full gear on his own Friday before the team's practice at the Ice Sports Forum. But Stralman, five weeks into his recovery from a fractured left leg, isn't close to returning to the lineup.

"Not near ready yet," Cooper said.

Cooper had said the Lightning hoped to get Stralman back at some point during this second-round playoff series. But until Stralman starts skating with the team, his return is not imminent. RW J.T. Brown (upper body) also doesn't appear close to a return.

D Matt Carle, RW Mike Blunden and RW Erik Condra did not practice and are considered day to day. The Lightning brought in some "black aces" to skate in practice: left wings Joel Vermin and Tye McGinn, either of whom could fill in Saturday, and defensemen Slater Koekkoek and Luke Witkowski.

"They told us to be ready." Koekkoek said.

TRIPLET TALK: The lines were shuffled at practice, with the Triplets (Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov) reunited. LW Alex Killorn spent the first round of the playoffs against the Red Wings with Johnson and Kucherov as the team's most productive line.

"Am I locked into the Triplets? No." Cooper said. "There's a bunch of different guys that have had success together. I'm just trying to find where the chemistry is."

On Friday, Killorn was on a line with C Valtteri Filppula and RW Jonathan Drouin. LW Cedric Paquette was with C Brian Boyle and RW Ryan Callahan. Vermin and McGinn alternated with forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Marchessault.

Contact Joe Smith at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

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