It wasn’t that long ago that Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was pursuing goalie after goalie, hoping that one of the promising, but largely inexperienced netminders he got would be capable of running away with the starting gig.
Enter Ben Bishop, who had some impressive AHL campaigns to his name and was solid with limited playing time in Ottawa. Yzerman gave up Cory Conacher, who was having a great rookie campaign, and a fourth rounder in April 2013 to get him and he’s proven to be a steal at that price.
The 27-year-old goaltender made his mark on the Lightning history books last night when he posted a 23-save shutout over the New Jersey Devils, earning his franchise record breaking 31st victory of the season.
“It’s special,” Bishop told NHL.com. “It’s something I don’t really stop and think about right now; maybe at the end of the season. We’ve got some games left, so hopefully I can add to that. It’s a team thing; the guys in front of me, I wouldn’t be here without them.”
There’s no doubt that wins are a team stat, but Bishop earned this record. He’s been one of the best goaltenders this season and has helped keep Tampa Bay afloat through Steven Stamkos’ recovery from a broken tibia.
The shutout was his fifth of the season, which puts him in a three-way tie for second place among the franchise’s top single-season performances. Nikolai Khabibulin holds the record with seven.