Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop silenced some critics with a Game 5 shutout, but as is often the case, blanking the New York Rangers 2-0 also came down to how his teammates (and opponents) performed.
For the Lightning, it was exactly the type of game they need to play to win it all, as much-heralded defenseman Anton Stralman notes.
Different people beyond the marquee stars were highlighted, as Jon Cooper called Tampa Bay’s penalty kill a key while Bishop thought Brian Boyle’s shot-blocking was most impressive.
Steven Stamkos, meanwhile, goes on to praise Tampa Bay’s defensive effort as its best since they shut down the Montreal Canadiens to end their second-round series in Game 6.
Of course, there’s the flip side of the coin: the Rangers feel like they didn’t do enough to beat Bishop, who stopped all 26 of their shots.
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault noted how much time New York spent in Tampa Bay’s zone for stretches of Game 5, yet they didn’t have much to show for it. To the NHL on NBC crew, it all comes down to a lack of net-front presence:
In other words, Bishop’s most painful moments might have come before the game even started.
New York needs to find a way to get through the strong defense of players like Stralman and Hedman (plus the fearless work of guys including Boyle) to put more heat on Bishop going forward, or their dreams of another Stanley Cup Final appearance might get dashed.