TAMPA — The final horn sounded late Sunday afternoon and the Lightning swarmed toward goalie Ben Bishop while the huge scoreboard overhead told the story: the Lightning 4, the Islanders, what else? Zero.
Bishop threw another shutout in a series-clinching win. That's four times he has done that in five such wins during the past two playoffs. Opponents have fired 134 shots Bishop's way during those five games. He has stopped 133.
When told his team had allowed just one goal in those five games, Lightning coach John Cooper said, "Two words. They both start with Bs."
"It seems like he plays his best when big games are on the line," forward Ryan Callahan said.
The series wasn't on the line Sunday for the Lightning. It held a 3-1 lead entering the game. But afterward, Bishop said he learned during last year's run to the Stanley Cup final that any time his team has a chance to close out a series, it's best to play as if the season is on the line.
"I said it last series (against the Red Wings). I wanted to take pride in closing teams out, and now we've done it two series in a row," Bishop said. "Maybe the long travel (required) being in Tampa, we don't really want to get on an airplane and go back up north (for Game 6)."
Bishop made 34 saves during a 1-0 Game 5 win against the Red Wings last month to end that series. He followed that up Sunday with 28 saves.
He was tested several times by the Islanders. Shane Prince had a chance to give the Islanders the lead when he took a centering pass in front of Bishop and wristed a shot on net 6:35 into the game. But Bishop easily turned the puck aside.
Then, not five minutes into the third period, Johnny Boychuk had a chance to bring the Islanders within 3-1 when the puck caromed off the glass behind Bishop and bounced onto Boychuk's stick. But Bishop scrambled from one side of the net to the other and was able to get his right pad in the way of the shot.
"He's got some pretty remarkable numbers right now," center Brian Boyle said. "This whole season … he's been phenomenal for us. We've relied on him maybe too much, but it's a good situation for us to have him playing at his best."