Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Only a cut for Lightning's Bishop after stick hits eye

LOS ANGELES — G Ben Bishop feared the worst Saturday night.

The stick blade of Sharks C Tomas Hertl somehow pierced through Bishop's mask and hit him in the right eye midway through the third period of a 4-3 Lightning win. There was immediate pain and blurred vision. It's something that had never happened to Bishop before.

"It was pretty scary," he said. "Some ooze or water came out right away, and I thought my eye was falling out."

Fortunately for Bishop, and the Lightning, he suffered no serious damage, no scratches or vision loss. He had just a cut on the eyelid, and Bishop lobbied to start Sunday against the Kings, saying he was ready to go.

Andrei Vasilevskiy started, but Bishop replaced him 39 seconds into the second period after Vasilevskiy gave up a long-range goal 12 seconds after the Lightning had tied the score at 1.

The injury "could have been a lot worse," Bishop said. It happened on a "really fluky play." With the mask goalies wear, "you have to have the perfect angle, the right height, right angle" to get a stick blade through one of the holes in the cage. He didn't blame Hertl, who was battling with RW J.T. Brown in front of the net when it happened.

"Obviously (Hertl) had no idea what he was doing," Bishop said.

Bishop looked pretty frantic when it happened, racing out of the crease, taking his mask and blocker off. He was attended to by team medical personnel before leaving the ice and being replaced by Vasilevskiy.

Bishop's contact lenses popped out, and he had some blurred vision. But a doctor gave him eye drops, which helped, and he slowly started to feel better. By the end of the game, he was giving high-fives to teammates as they entered the locker room.

Bishop remembered watching on TV in November when Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury got hit in the eye by a stick from Pittsburgh D Ben Lovejoy.

Joked Bishop: "Another one of those situations where you ask yourself, 'Why do you play goalie?' "

Bishop said he would see an eye doctor when the team returned to Tampa as a precaution — Sunday was the end of the road trip — but he didn't think the injury would affect how he plays.

STAMKOS ON PK? In the final minute Saturday, with the Lightning clinging to a one-goal lead and the Sharks threatening with an extra attacker, C Steven Stamkos made a huge sliding block on a slap shot by D Brent Burns, clearing the zone.

"Do whatever it takes, right?" Stamkos said.

That apparently includes playing on the penalty kill.

Stamkos rarely logs shorthanded shifts, but he played two minutes on the penalty kill Saturday. Coach Jon Cooper pointed out that with several key penalty killers hurt for the game (Ondrej Palat, Cedric Paquette and Tyler Johnson) and a lack of right-shot faceoff men, Stamkos was needed. Though Stamkos was surprised to get the call, he'd welcome more opportunities on that special teams unit. He averaged 12 seconds of shorthanded ice time last season.

"I try to pay attention to those penalty-kill meetings for when your name is called out there," Stamkos said. "I feel, especially (Saturday), it really got me into the game. Sometimes you get a couple shifts there can really jump-start your game."

JOHNNY BE GOOD: Johnson (undisclosed injury) made a surprise return to the lineup against the Kings, having not played since getting hurt on the first shift Nov. 27 in Washington. The Lightning needed Johnson because RW Erik Condra, who scored his first goal in 19 games Saturday, was scratched due to a lower-body injury. He was considered day to day. LW Joel Vermin was in the lineup, with D Nikita Nesterov scratched.

SILVER ANNIVERSARY: Sunday was the 25th anniversary of the Lightning franchise's birth. "Do you believe it's gone this fast?" founder Phil Esposito said. Esposito said he was given a 1991 bottle of chianti shortly after getting the expansion team, and he finally opened it on Thanksgiving this year to toast the anniversary. Esposito, a Hall of Famer and Stanley Cup winner, called starting the team his greatest achievement in hockey.

NUTS AND BOLTS: RW Nikita Kucherov scored two highlight-reel goals Saturday, his first multi­goal game of the season. … The Sharks had eight power plays Saturday, scoring on three.

Comments
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 the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

BOSTON — Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored 1:19 apart in the second period, and then the Maple Leafs killed off a 5-on-3 and three more power plays in a row to beat the Bruins 4-3 in Game 5 on Saturday night and avoid playoff eliminatio...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

TAMPA — It was a couple of days after the Lightning beat the Bruins at home late in the regular season when associate coach Rick Bowness talked about how the defensive effort used in that shutout victory was the one the Lightning would need in ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

TAMPA — Pardon Mikhail Sergachev if he isn't so good at one of hockey's greatest traditions. After all, growing a Stanley Cup playoff beard isn't easy when you're still just a teenager.As he stood in the Lightning locker room Saturday evening w...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 3

Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 3

TAMPA — Closers.That's what the Lightning looked like as it closed out the New Jersey Devils in five games with a 3-1 win Saturday.Nikita Kucherov's star power blazed again, the defense controlled the game and not even Jersey goaltend...
Published: 04/21/18
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s first-round series

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s first-round series

TAMPA — In the postseason, teams want to bank days off so they are as fresh as can be for the next round. That's why it was so important for the Lightning to close out Jersey in five. The fewer the games, the less wear and tear on the body, les...
Published: 04/21/18
Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

TAMPA — The Lightning so dominated the second period Saturday that the Devils had more penalties (five) than shots on goal (four), and yet Tampa Bay was unable to build on a 1-0 lead as they sought to clinch the opening-round series.Nowhere was...
Published: 04/21/18
Nikita Kucherov’s goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

Nikita Kucherov’s goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

TAMPA — After clinging to a 1-0 lead for more than two periods Saturday, the Lightning got a long-awaited cushion — and ultimately the winning goal — when Nikita Kucherov scored with 7:33 left in the final period of a 3-1 victo...
Published: 04/21/18
Lightning wins 3-1, advances to the semifinals

Lightning wins 3-1, advances to the semifinals

TAMPA — The Lightning closed out its quarterfinal series against the Devils with a suffocating defensive effort.The Devils finally solved Andrei Vasilevskiy in the waning moments with goalie Cory Schneider on the bench and the Devils skati...
Published: 04/21/18
Live blog: Lightning aims to eliminate Devils in Game 5

Live blog: Lightning aims to eliminate Devils in Game 5

Follow our live coverage of the opening-round NHL playoff series between the Lightning and New Jersey Devils. Times reporters, editors, sports columnists and photo journalists will chronicle the action on and off the ice through updates, analysis, ph...
Published: 04/21/18