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Bishop Wins Game 3 Despite Injury

Bishop Wins Game 3 Despite Injury

Even though he was dealing with a lower body injury throughout game three of the Stanley Cup Final, Ben Bishop stayed in the game and made 36 saves en route to a huge 3-2 victory in Chicago.

The hype surrounding the decision to start Bishop or backup Andrei Vasilevskiy reached downright foolish levels on the day off between games two and three. Jon Cooper became increasingly agitated, even resorting to responding to one of the questions with “How would John Tortorella answer that question?”

It ended up being Bishop, but it was obvious early in the game that something was not right with him. He looked so uncomfortable that it left many wondering if he would be removed from the game in the first intermission.

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Bishop took his time recovering after saves with the puck in the Lightning zone, and was clearly favouring his lower body.

Vasilevskiy would remain on the bench, and Bishop powered through the rest of the game – making a number of key saves down the stretch.

While Vasilevskiy is only 20 years old, and his NHL experience is minimal, he has performed at a pretty high level in that small sample size. In 16 regular season games he posted a 7-5-1 record, with a 2.36 goals against average and .918 save percentage. He also came through the ranks of the KHL, and has experienced a lot more than most goaltenders that are his age.

When asked after the game about the decision to start Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said “His eyes were saying give me the net.”

That still begs the question: Even though he won, should Bishop have started game three?

Although he played well and the results were there, if there’s any chance that Bishop could do serious or further damage to an injury, it’s a curious decision.

“Playing through the pain” makes for a great storyline, but is Ben Bishop at 50% better than Andrei Vasilevskiy at 100%?

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Even though he couldn’t move laterally particularly well, Ben Bishop and the Lightning would come out on top in game three of the Stanley Cup Final.

It may be Bishop’s only chance to play for a cup, but that dream could fizzle out if his injury proves to be too much to handle later in the series. Cooper apparently trusts Bishop to step aside if he feels like his injury is hurting the team, so it doesn’t look like he’s coming out any time soon.

Other than his mobility in the crease, there is another way this injury could affect the way Bishop and the rest of the Lightning play. They are used to him being a very active puckhandler, but that number was drastically reduced in game three – as InGoal‘s Kevin Woodley pointed out on Twitter.

As for Lightning goaltending coach Frantz Jean’s take on the matter? He had a simple one word tweet to share.

About The Author

Greg Balloch

Greg Balloch is a Vancouver-based writer for InGoal Magazine, broadcaster for Sportsnet 650, and goaltending coach. His career began in Hamilton, Ontario with the Junior 'A' Hamilton Red Wings, before moving to Vancouver to cover the Canucks on the radio and work with the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. A lifelong goaltender, he has been teaching the position for over a decade.