Jun 8, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) is checked on by a team trainer after a collision with Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (not pictured) in the second period in game three of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
#2: Ben Bishop Isn’t Himself
It doesn’t take a hockey expert to know that Ben Bishop is playing through something. Whether it be illness or injury, the Bolts’ goaltender’s mystery ailment took him out of Game Two, and nearly kept him from starting Game Three.
Though he played a full 60 minutes on Monday night, earning his first Stanley Cup Final win in the process, it seemed almost a sure thing that Bishop would not come out to start the second period, after being checked on by Lightning trainers multiple times during the first period.
In a post-game interview with Scott Oake of CBC, Bishop said that when he woke up on Monday morning, he “felt as good as I will feel”, regarding his injury.
With 19 shots in the first period of Game Three, the Blackhawks clearly knew where to attack the Lightning; straight at the net. With Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews, and Andrew Shaw taking turns getting in Bishop’s crease, it seems only a matter of time before Bishop makes a pivotal mistake, or Andrei Vasilevskiy becomes the Bolts’ goaltender for the remainder of the Final, in his rookie season.
The Blackhawks need to play the rest of the series like they did in the first period of Game Three, and less like the following two, where they had 19 shots, combined. If they do, they will expose Tampa Bay, and with a Blackhawks’ offense that has proven capable of exploding in the past, it might just be the key to bringing home the Cup.