Bogged down by a slew of injuries and a four-game losing streak, the Tampa Bay Lighting could use some good news. They got some on Wednesday, as Ben Bishop deemed himself “ready to go” for tomorrow’s game, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.
While the Bolts have been supportive of Andrei Vasilevskiy during these tough times, the promising young goalie hasn’t been able to bail Tampa Bay out of its problems lately.
Bishop’s play has often caused as many problems as it’s erased in 2016-17, but perhaps this involuntary, injury-fueled absence will be a blessing in disguise?
Both the goalie and the team could use a boost. The Lightning aren’t all the way out of the playoff berth, but they’re slipping, especially in a league full of “three-point nights.”
Wild card ranks
Rangers – 57 points in 42 games
Flyers – 48 points in 43 GP
Hurricanes – 45 in 41 GP
Maple Leafs – 44 in 39 GP
Panthers – 44 in 42 GP
Lightning 42 in 42 GP
Sabres – 41 in 40 GP
Red Wings – 40 in 41 GP
Devils – 40 in 42 GP
Islanders – 38 in 38 GP
Yeah, that doesn’t look so great.
The Lightning play back-to-back home games (Sabres on Thursday, host the Blue Jackets on Friday), so it’s ideal to have Bishop and Vasilevskiy on hand. After that, a treacherous six-game road trip mostly through the West looms.
Beyond the team matters, Bishop has a lot to play for personally.
This stumbling season probably dropped the salary number for his next deal down quite a bit, yet he still has time to salvage this contract year. Whether it means beefing up his trade value or improving the Lightning’s playoff chances, the opportunity is there.
It’s just that neither Bishop nor the Bolts have really been able to seize many of those opportunities lately.