No huge surprise, but now it’s starting to sound official — per CBC and the Toronto Sun, the Lightning have ruled out No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop for the opening game of their first-round series with Montreal.
In Bishop’s place, Anders Lindback — the NHL’s reigning first star of the week — will get the nod.
Despite Lindback’s solid play last week, the Bolts must still be concerned about going into the series without arguably their MVP this season. Bishop was the one constant throughout the campaign, providing solid netminding while Steve Stamkos was sidelined with a broken leg and following the tumultuous Martin St. Louis saga.
Overall, Bishop’s numbers on the year are Vezina-worthy: 37-14-7 (4th in the NHL in wins), 2.23 GAA (7th), .924 save percentage (7th) and five shutouts (5th). Lindback, meanwhile, had just eight wins in 23 appearances this season and had a sub-.900 save percentage…though he does feel his game is rounding into form at the right time.
“I think I’m way more patient, I’m way more compact and I don’t open up as I’ve been doing this season,’’ Lindback told the Tampa Tribune. “I feel like I’m more consistent. And everything I do out there, it’s something I’ve been trying to work on and it’s been paying off the last couple of games here.
“So, it’s just now trying to keep pushing it and get better, and it’s time to take it to another level.’’