Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop really stepped up against the Washington Capitals tonight and could easily be considered the Player of the Game.
The Tampa Bay Lightning charged into the Amalie Arena tonight facing down one of the toughest challenges imaginable. The Lightning would look to stave off a potential five-game winning streak and somehow emerge victoriously against the Washington Capitals.
After a well-fought game on both sides of the ice, and an intense four-round shootout, the Tampa Bay Lightning would be able to shut the door on captain Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals to finally right the course for the Bolts, bringing home a much-needed two points.
Despite earning the third star in tonight’s encounter, it could easily be said that Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop emerged from this encounter the player of the game. After all the pressure Bishop has put on himself during the Lightning’s recent skid, it’s nice to see him earn a little bit of retribution.
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Tonight’s encounter with the Capitals was not an easy one for the 30-year-old Lightning netminder. Of course, it’s usually a rough night for any netminder facing down the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Marcus Johansson. On the bright side, Bishop was able to shut the door on them more than once.
Ben Bishop faced a total of 33 shots on goal from the Washington Capitals tonight. Of those 33 shots, Bishop only allowed one to make its way into the net. Of course, it doesn’t exactly help when the Lightning continually found themselves in the penalty box.
The Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves on the penalty kill for what seemed like the millionth time of the night as Braydon Coburn found himself with a one-way ticket to the sin bin for High Sticking Capitals defenseman John Carlson.
As the old saying goes, you can only open a door so many times before someone walks right through said door and slams it behind them. This is exactly what happened when Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom was able to beat Bishop and hit the back of the net.
Unfortunately for the Capitals, this is the only time this would occur in regulation. Ben Bishop ended tonight’s encounter with a Save Percentage of .971 in regulation. As the buzzer sounded to end regulation, the real pressure was on.
Bishop had five minutes to shut down the Capitals and either emerge victoriously or head to a shootout. As just about everyone knows by now, the latter is how things played out at the Amalie Arena.
Unfortunately for the Tampa Bay Lightning and their fans, things didn’t exactly start out the way one would’ve hoped for. After Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby closed the door on Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin, Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov would beat Bishop to open up the shootout for the Capitals.
Little did the Capitals know, that was the only success they would find over the course of the shootout. Bishop would continue on to put the brakes on players like Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, and Marcus Johansson to bring home the victory for the Lightning.
Let’s break this down one more time. Ben Bishop shut down the Washington Capitals number one goal scorer, number one in assists and overall points, and third place overall points scorer in order to secure the win for the Tampa Bay Lightning. No matter how you slice it, that is an accomplishment.
Following the Lightning’s win, Ben Bishop had nothing but praise for his teammates and looks forward to building on tonight’s victory.
“It was one of our better, full 60-minute games. It’s a big two points and now we’re set to keep building.” Bishop said.
“I thought the PK was outstanding and Bish was unbelievable.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning have an opportunity to build on tonight’s victory over the Capitals. Tomorrow, the Lightning will head to the PNC Arena to do battle with the Carolina Hurricanes. If the Lightning play like they did tonight, with the exception of the amount of penalties they took, the Bolts will find themselves in an excellent position for a repeat victory.
The second half of the Lightning’s back-to-back weekend is set to kick off at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon in North Carolina. As usual, you can catch all the action on Fox Sports Sun. Also, we’ll be here keeping you up to date on all the Lightning Hockey action as it happens.