His smile was as big as a kid in a candy store.
Although Ben Bishop was born in Denver, he called St. Louis his home. The not-so-averaged-sized teenager muscled his way through the amateur ranks, playing for the Kirkwood Stars and the Junior Blues. He went on to Chaminade College Preparatory School, where he shined as the team’s goaltender.
After a stint in the NAHL and three years with the University of Maine, he was selected by the hometown Blues in the third round, 85th overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The simile above works perfectly because … well, he was a kid. An Incredible Hulk-sized kid.
That same smile appeared Tuesday night at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. Bishop allowed just one goal on 19 shots, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to a four-games-to-two victory against the rival Montreal Canadiens.
Bishop improved for his new squad, posting an 11-8-2 record with a .917 save percentage and 2.47 GAA spanning across two seasons. However, with Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner in the organization, the Senators decided to trade Bishop to the Lightning in exchange for Cory Conacher and another draft pick on April 3, 2013.
Bishop found his new home. He became the sure-fire No. 1 goaltender, posting a 37-14-7 record in 2013-14, his first full NHL season, to go along with a .924 save percentage, 2.23 GAA and five shutouts. Unfortunately, the Vezina Trophy finalist was unavailable for the playoffs due to injury and he was forced to watch his club get swept out of the first round by Montreal.
It was a different story this postseason with Bishop between the pipes. After recording an impressive 40-win season, Bishop kept the chances minimal for the Canadiens. He’s made acrobatic saves, as well as the mandatory stylistic saves.
Now, Bishop will participate in his first Conference Final series. The 28-year old will be a point of concern for the winner of the New York Rangers-Washington Capitals series.
For more NHL news and notes, check out the headlines that are making their rounds today:
The Canadiens ran out of gas in the Lightning series. [Global News]
Carey Price shouldered the blame for the playoff loss. [The Score]
The Rangers-Capitals Game 7 could be most watched playoff game. [Forbes]
The NHL playoffs are beating the NBA playoffs in all facets. [Star Tribune]
Steve Montador’s family is suing the NHL after it was revealed he suffered from CTE. [Puck Daddy]
Although they are in the playoffs, the Blackhawks are focused on future seasons, as well. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Jack Eichel scored in OT to give the U.S. the top seed in their group. [Pro Hockey Talk]
What’s next for Martin Brodeur’s and the Blues’ relationship? [Today’s Slapshot]
Tracking some major Kings prospects. [Mayor’s Manor]