Ben Bishop has rarely looked taller. He has rarely looked wider. He has rarely played better.
Bishop stopped 34 shots in a 1-0 shutout over the Detroit Red Wings Thursday night to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a first-series win (4-1) over the Wings. In the second period alone, he stopped 14 shots including four breakaways.
The Bolts won with 1:43 left to play when Alex Killorn rushed the net, took a pass from Ryan Callahan and jammed it past goalie Petr Mrazek.
“You want your goalie to keep you in it,” Killorn said, “but I’m not sure he didn’t win it.”
It was the 129th game that Bishop has won in net for the Bolts. Twenty of them have been shutouts. In the playoffs, Bishop has four shutouts, three of them in series-clinching games. In this series, he had a 1.61 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage.
“You know sometimes you are feeling it, I guess,” Bishop said. “I was able to make a couple saves there and keep the team in the game, then obviously in the third a big goal by (Killorn).”
The Lightning actually didn’t play particularly well until Killorn’s game-winner. They had 17 giveaways.
“If you give our team a C and you give Detroit an A,” said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, “the problem is that Bish got an A+, and it trumped an A.”
The penalty killing also played well again for the Lightning, which stopped five power plays and finished the series killing 24 of 25 power plays by Detroit. All of which set up Killorn’s game-winner.
“It was a play where (Mrazek) makes a goalie play and Callahan kind of jumped him and once I saw that (Mrazek) was out of his net I was just trying to gain position in front knowing that if (Callahan) could get it to me I could probably put it in.”
Tampa Bay now waits to find out whether Florida or the Islanders wins their series, which is tied 2-2.