Ben Bishop has enjoyed a great deal of success since coming over to the Tampa Bay Lightning, becoming a Vezina Trophy finalist last season. After years of bouncing between the AHL and NHL with multiple teams, he has finally found a home with the Lightning.
One thing that has continued to haunt him, however, is his lack of success against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Entering Friday night’s game, Bishop has had a forgettable four game history with the Birds from the Burgh – posting a 4.26 GAA and .872 save %. His most recent attempt to master them fared no better than before.
Ben Bishop: Struggles Against Penguins Continue
Bishop found himself riding the bench before the first period was even over, allowing three goals on ten shots. His defense didn’t do him any favors at times, but in the end it was Bishop who was shown the showers.
It’s interesting that the Lightning would go with Bishop seeing his struggles against Pittsburgh. While he is your undisputed number one goaltender, with the Lightning struggling to find consistency it has to be all hands on deck to right the ship.
If that’s sitting your star goalie in favor of your backup, even against a tough team like Pittsburgh, you have to. It’s not like Evgeni Nabokov is your run of the mill backup anyways, especially against the Penguins.
In his career, Nabokov has posted an 11-7 record with a 2.28 GAA and a .922 SV%. A vast differential between Bishop’s numbers.
When you have a goalie playing at a high level it’s hard to sit him, especially against the tougher teams. But sitting him wouldn’t be unprecedented for a team to do so with their star goalie.
The interesting part in this case is that Svedberg played the night before, taking over for Rask who was pulled against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Playing against your biggest rival, you want the best opportunity to win, and Rask gives you that.
Tampa Bay won’t have to worry about the Penguins any more during the regular season, but a matchup in the playoffs isn’t completely out of the question – in which Bishop would have no choice but to reverse his luck against the Penguins.
Anthony covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Hockey Writers. He is also currently a Featured Columnist for Last Word on Sports, and has held editorial positions on multiple Fansided websites and the now defunct The Farm Club.