Injury Forces Ben Bishop From Eastern Conference Final Game One
The high from making the Eastern Conference final for the second straight season had barely worn off for Tampa Bay Lightning fans before they were dealt a heavy blow on Friday night.
In the first period of the round three series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ben Bishop took an awkward fall in his crease and appeared to injure his left leg. He was in a considerable amount of pain, and was unable to regain his feet. A stretcher was brought onto the ice to carry him off.
Up to this point, Bishop was 8-2-0 in the playoffs, with a .939 save percentage – even better than the .926 he posted in the regular season. It’s a major loss for the Lightning, even with the highly-touted Andrei Vasilevskiy coming in as his replacement.
If there is a bright side to the story, Vasilevskiy stepped into the crease and turned aside 25 shots, en route to the 3-1 victory. His playoff debut came during a surprisingly similar incident in last year’s Stanley Cup final, when Bishop was trying to play through a groin injury. The last goaltender to win his first two playoff games in relief appearances was Olaf Kolzig of the Washington Capitals.
Stat from @NHLNetwork Vasilevskiy 1st goalie since Olie Kolzig in 95&96 to earn first 2 career playoff in relief
— Erik Erlendsson (@Erik_Erlendsson) May 14, 2016
You never want to see a goalie go down like Bishop did, but the Lightning are lucky to have an extremely capable backup. Vasilevskiy even joked with reporters after the game that coming into an Eastern Conference final game is nothing compared to the Stanley Cup final.
Vasilevskiy was asked if he feels he’s ready for this moment. “That’s why I’m here,” he answered with a smile. #TBLightning
— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) May 14, 2016
While info about the type of injury that Bishop suffered was scarce, the Lightning did receive a bit of good news after the game.
Ben Bishop had X-rays that came back negative, per Jon Cooper.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 14, 2016
More tests will still need to be done, but here’s hoping that we see Bishop back on the ice sooner rather than later. In the meantime, Tampa Bay will have to ride the play of their goaltender of the future – Andrei Vasilevskiy.
To watch a video of the entire play in which Bishop was injured, see below:
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