Lightning Win Game 1 of Eastern Conference Finals, But Ben Bishop Leaves on a Stretcher

The Tampa Bay Lightning got off to a good start against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals on May 13th, shutting down the Penguins’ offense and winning 3-1. Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy had 25 saves. He was in the nets because Ben Bishop went down with a “lower body injury” as the NHL puts it, but what he did was seriously twist his leg and collapse in a heap. Bishop left the game on a stretcher.

A medical examination and x-rays of Bishop’s leg showed no apparent structural damage and he is listed as day to day. Still, after seeing him down on the ice after the injury, we wonder how much his quickness and maneuverability is affected, and for how long a period of time. Vasilevskiy was outstanding in relief, but Bishop’s 2.06 goals against average in the regular season led the NHL, and his .926 save percentage was 2nd in the league. Vasilevskiy, who turns 22 in July, was 11-10 this season with a 2.76 goals against average and a .910 save percentage, which aren’t bad numbers for a #2 goalie, but they aren’t Ben Bishop numbers either.

In another game note, Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan got a five minute major penalty for boarding after laying a vicious hit on Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang:

Letang left the game but returned later. Players have been suspended for illegal hits during this post season, including Letang, who missed Game 4 against Washington because of a hit on the Capitals’ Marcus Johansson. However, the league announced it would not suspend Callahan or even hold a hearing on the matter. Game 1 of the series was very physical, and we expect to see retaliation, probably from Letang himself, who has been known to get carried away with his physical play, resulting in some bad penalties. Game 2 is May 16th.

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