Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning's Bishop moving on to next one
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -
Ben Bishop made quite the lasting first impression.
Less than 24 hours after showing up at the team hotel, without a practice and just a few handshake introductions following his arrival from Ottawa, the 6-foot-7 goaltender suited up and set a franchise record.
With a calm and cool demeanor, Bishop stopped all 45 shots he faced in a 5-0 victory against Carolina, tying Daren Puppa's franchise record for saves in a shutout and tying for the second-most saves in a game in franchise history.
With back-to-back games starting tonight against the Islanders, Bishop figures to get at least one of those starts, if not both.
But whenever he does get back into the crease, teammates hope Bishop shows the same demeanor in net he did in his Lightning debut.
“It was a heck of a first game for him,'' defenseman Matt Carle said. “He was very calm, and even his communication skills when we had the puck going back for it, he's looking and talking. And late in the third period, he was even giving us suggestions on how to play our system, so that was pretty surprising for our first game. Hopefully that's a sign of good things to come.''
With his big frame combined with his composed style of play, it made for what looked like a relatively easy night for him despite the heavy workload. It's all part of the package Bishop brings to his new team.
“He played a very sound, positional game (Thursday),'' goaltending coach Frantz Jean said. “He was seeing the puck well, he controlled his rebounds. He got a lot of shots, but he managed the game very well.''
With Anders Lindback still nursing a high ankle sprain and no timetable for his return, Bishop figures to get a bulk of the starts over the final 12 games.
With Tampa Bay four points out of the Southeast Division lead, the Lightning are playing meaningful games down the stretch with a points streak of four games (3-0-1).
But Bishop does not want to get ahead of himself despite the dazzling debut.
“It's nice to get off on the right foot, but it's just one game, you can't get too high,'' he said. “You forget about it and get ready for Saturday and another big game.''
Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Bishop had a certain air about him during his debut.
“He looked really confident, he wasn't erratic, and he was sprawling all over the place,'' Cooper said. “He was square all the time and he was there to make the saves. He was great handling the puck when he had to, he was confident in that aspect.''
It was quite a contrast for Cooper to see Bishop in his debut for Tampa Bay compared to when Cooper first saw the up-and-coming goaltender in the North American Hockey League. Back then, Bishop's Texas Tornado team was knocking out Cooper's Texarkana Bandits in the 2004-05 playoffs.
“I'll tell you, for somebody that size and you have to get up and down, up and down at 18 years old and your leg muscles are not developed yet, it's hard on you,'' Cooper said. “He was kind of a gangly kid back then, but he has really developed into his body, he's strong, his legs are strong, so now he's strong in all those areas and now he doesn't break down like he did when he was younger.
“So if (Thursday) is any indication of what he is going to be, it's going to bode well for us.''