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Resilient Lightning find a way to beat Pittsburgh without Ben Bishop

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By now, would you really expect another injury, even to an important player, to slow them down?

The resilient Tampa Bay Lightning, already without Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman, lost goaltender Ben Bishop with 7:35 left in the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bishop was taken from the ice in a stretcher. Early X-rays showed there was no structural damage.

“I think a lot of that comes from last year and the confidence we have in this group coming in,” said forward Ryan Callahan. “We’ve that mentality it’s the next guy up. We have a deep team, and that’s been a big key for us.”

The Lightning, a slight underdog in the series because of the powerful Pittsburgh offense, scored one goal in the first period on a nice move by Alex Killorn. In the second period, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin also scored.

Patrick Hornqvist scored for Pittsburgh.

Andrei Vasilevskiy came in for the Bolts and stopped 25 of 26 shots to get the 3-1 win.

“We lead the league in penalties,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “That’s something we have to correct.”

Cooper was optimistic that X-rays showed no serious damage to Bishop’s knee. He pointed to the experience of Vasilevskiy, who is only 21 years old.

“I know it was a year ago, but he’s already played in a Stanley Cup Final,” Cooper said. “There are all kind of cliches in this game about working hard, but in his case, it’s true. He’s a rock.”

The Lightning and Penguins play again on Sunday, then turn to Tampa Bay on Wednesday night. Tampa Bay is 9-2 in these playoffs.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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