Through the lows and mostly highs of Ben Bishop‘s NHL career, it seems like injuries will just continue to dog the sizable Dallas Stars goalie. They were an issue with Tampa Bay, and don’t seem to be going away in Dallas.
His mixture of shaky health and fantastic goaltending has really carried over in 2018-19, and Thursday provides quite a snapshot of that.
Consider what happened:
- Bishop carried a three-game shutout streak into Thursday’s match against the Minnesota Wild. Remarkably, before the triplet of goose eggs (March 5-12), he also only allowed one goal (29 of 30 saves) in a March 2 win against the Blues. His March save percentage heading into Thursday was … .992(!!) in four games.
- The 32-year-old broke Ed Belfour’s franchise shutout streak by surpassing Belfour’s Stars record of 219:26. Bishop was at 224:20 by the end of the first period, and seemed to add 6:33 from the second period, only for …
- … an injury to happen. The Stars announced that Bishop is questionable to return to the game thanks to a lower-body injury.
- NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti reports that shared shutouts don’t count toward streaks, so even if Bishop manages to come back during Thursday’s game against the Wild, his shutout streak will end at three games.
Talk about a disappointing way to end a career-best, and franchise-record-breaking run, huh?
Of course, while Bishop laments the streak being cut off by yet another injury, the Stars are almost certainly more concerned about the long-term.
Will Bishop be healthy by the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which the Stars would qualify for if the postseason began at this moment? Again, Bishop’s been splendid, and possibly Vezina-worthy, when healthy. He carried an outstanding .932 save percentage into Thursday, topping an already-impressive career save percentage of .920.
Now, sure, Anton Khudobin has been almost as stellar (.924 save percentage, despite a 13-14-3 record heading into Thursday), so the Stars seem to be better prepared than most teams if they lose their starter.
With a razor-thin margin of error at times this season – they’ve only scored two more goals than they allowed – they’re basically counting on excellence from their netminders, so they have to really hope this is just a minor (albeit annoying) issue for Bishop.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.