With Ben Bishop allowing five goals in each of his last two starts for the first time since March 2011, Bolts’ head coach Jon Cooper was asked on Saturday whether he’d consider a change in goal ahead of Game 5 Sunday night in New York.
“I understand your question,” Cooper said of a potential change in goal. “For someone to sit here and say, are we changing (in) goal? That is asinine to me.”
Bishop has 5.00 G.A.A. and an .807 save percentage as the Lightning split a pair of games on home ice.
“You never like to give up five goals in back-to-back games, but the best part is we’ve got another game,” said Bishop following Friday’s 5-1 loss.
The 28-year-old has a 3.50 G.A.A. and an .882 save percentage through the first four games of the series.
“He’s a great goaltender and we lean on him a lot, and we expect him to be better as we expect our team to play better,” said defenseman Braydon Coburn.
Added Jason Garrison: “I think he’s probably not happy about that, and I don’t think any of his teammates are really, so collectively as a team we’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen. You can’t win in the playoffs very much letting those kind of goals up.”
Game 5 goes Sunday night at MSG. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
The New York Rangers had an ideal opportunity to take an early lead against Tampa Bay as Lightning forward Brian Boyle got two minutes for holding and then teammate Jason Garrison was sent to the box for a delay of game less than a minute later.
Not only did the Rangers fail to capitalize on that extended 5-on-3, but Tyler Johnson ended up scoring a shorthanded breakaway goal after Rangers forward Martin St. Louis gave up the puck.
The goal was initially waived off because the net was knocked off its moorings, but a review determined that it was a good goal. You can see that below:
The Rangers were able to get some measure of redemption though as Tampa Bay’s Brenden Morrow was called off for high sticking at 8:15 of the first frame and Chris Kreider was able to convert on the power play:
Steven Stamkos didn’t score a single goal in Tampa Bay’s first eight playoff contests this season. The fact that the Lightning made it to the second round and then took Game 1 against Montreal without a single marker from the two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner is impressive.
It also raises the question: How far can Tampa Bay go if Stamkos gets hot?
We might find out the answer because Stamkos not only ended his goal scoring drought midway through the second period of Sunday’s game, but he did so in style. After accepting a long pass from Jason Garrison and beating Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov for the puck, Stamkos found himself in a one-on-one situation with goaltender Carey Price.
Stamkos didn’t have complete control of the rolling puck as he moved towards the net, but he still managed to outmaneuver Price to put Tampa Bay up 2-1:
Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry could barely make it to the Montreal bench after blocking a Jason Garrison slap shot off the inside part of his left leg in the first period.
Good news though for the Habs: Petry returned for the second period, though it will be interesting to see what impact that shot block has on the 27-year-old blue liner, who couldn’t put weight on his left leg as he slowly made his way to the bench.
Meanwhile, something else to keep an eye on: Steven Stamkos was seen favoring his left wrist after slightly bumping into Carey Price while on the forecheck. Like Petry, Stamkos stayed in the game and even had a scoring opportunity, which he was unable to capitalize on.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a long way to go to force a Game 7, especially as they hand the Detroit Red Wings some early power-play opportunities.
Even so, the Bolts have generated the start their fledgling offense really needed. It’s no surprise that Tyler Johnson scored the 1-0 goal, either, really:
Steven Stamkos still hasn’t scored a goal, but he probably isn’t too flummoxed by at least getting a point, as he assisted on Jason Garrison’s 2-0 tally:
Again, the Red Wings could come back here, especially considering their star power and home-ice advantage. This could be a nice confidence-booster for the Lightning, however.