Ben Bishop kept spurning the New York Rangers as his Tampa Bay teammates were cratering in front of him, but the feeling was something had to give. It finally did with about 13 seconds remaining in the second period.
Bishop turned Stepan aside on a partial breakaway in the opening frame, but the rising forward popped in a rebound for a big 1-0 lead:
(Some have noted that Chris Kreider dislodged Bishop’s stick before the goal was scored.)
Only the blindest Lightning fan would deny that the Rangers had been taking it to Tampa Bay through the first 40 minutes. Still, it’s a manageable deficit for a regular season scoring machine to deal with, so we’ll see how things go in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Ben Bishop was outstanding for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round. It’s early in Game 1, but he also looks sharp against the New York Rangers.
The pace has been pretty quick even if the chances haven’t been all that frequent. Bishop had to be very sharp on this chance, however, as a nice (and maybe slightly fortunate) bounce set up Derek Stepan for this partial breakaway:
Will Bishop be able to match Henrik Lundqvist all series long? That’s easier said than done, but Bishop’s off to a good start.
Update: The Rangers were spurned by Bishop, the posts and even Nikita Kucherov in the first period, which ended 0-0.
As you can see, it’s been one-sided so far:
Again, some luck has been involved for Tampa Bay:
Alex Ovechkin is barely removed from a painful Game 7 loss with the Washington Capitals, but he gets a chance to win big with his home country on Saturday.
Ovechkin and Team Russia take on Jack Eichel (pictured) and the U.S. team in the second semifinal game of the 2015 World Hockey Championships, which you can stream via the link below.
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The winner of this game will face a star-packed Canadian squad in the championship round on Sunday.
The Tampa Bay Lightning may have Ryan Callahan in the lineup, but that’s not the only surprise heading into Game 1 against the New York Rangers. Big center Brian Boyle won’t be able to play because of an undisclosed injury.
The defensive forward is considered day-to-day and will miss this first opportunity to face his former team in the conference finals.
There was some thought that perhaps he was missing Game 1 because his wife was giving birth:
It sounds like it’s an injury-related absence, however. Either way, he’s not in the mix on Saturday. Here’s what the warm-ups looked like:
This is the first time the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers will face off in a playoff series, but it doesn’t really feel like it.
The reasoning is simple: there are so many players facing their former teammates in this conference final squabble.
Martin St. Louis (pictured) versus his former team is the obvious headliner, although Ryan Callahan may steal his thunder if he managed to play this afternoon. Beyond that, Anton Stralman and Brian Boyle were useful members of last year’s Stanley Cup Finalist Rangers squad while Dan Boyle won a championship with the Bolts many moons ago.
“It’s a little bit of made-for-TV,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told the Bergen Record. “How often do two captains get traded for each other? Guys that have been big parts of a team and move on to free agency. In part, not because they didn’t want to be there but, in the salary cap era, this is what happens.”
Speaking of made-for-TV, you can watch Game 1 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Final on NBC and also stream it via NBC Sports Live Extra.
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