Ben Bishop’s puck handling skill usually gets him out of trouble, but it put him in a bad spot against the Sabres. Thankfully, the Lightning netminder was able to dive back into his net to make an incredible save.
One of the more lauded parts of Ben Bishop’s game is his ability to handle the puck and turn an opposing team’s dump-and-chase game against them.
Not even a two time Vezina Trophy finalist is safe from making mistakes, though, and Bishop almost made a memorable one Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres. That was before he went and reminded everyone exactly why he has been a two time Vezina Trophy finalist.
Bishop’s gaffe came early in the second period of Thursday’s game, with the Lightning ahead by one less than four minutes into the frame. As the puck was knocked deep by the Sabres, the oft-wandering Bishop went behind his net, corralled the puck, took a look up ice and made an attempt at a breakout pass. Probably safe to say he wasn’t aiming for the tape of Buffalo leading scorer Kyle Okposo, though.
But in a moment of desperation that must have seen time come to a near crawl for Bishop, he sprang into action like the Six Million Dollar Man he is, darted out from behind the net and made a diving glove stop on Okposo:
That’s about as good as it gets in terms of making up for your own mistake, and it gets Bishop on the highlight-reel to boot. As if adding insult to injury, too, Tampa Bay added their second goal of the game mere minutes later on a power play opportunity. Bishop’s save was no doubt still more than fresh in their minds.
Despite the heroic effort on the stop, it’s been a rather pedestrian year for Bishop thus far. He picked up the win Thursday, but it marked just the first time all season he has won back-to-back games when getting two consecutive starts. His goals-against average is sitting at 2.77 through 12 starts after surrendering one goal against on 33 shots against the Sabres, and his save percentage is a mediocre .909.
Even with those numbers being a far cry from the 2.06 and .926 marks Bishop posted in 2015-16, it’s hard to bet against the Lightning netminder hitting his stride at some point this season and getting right back to his normal self. And maybe his stop on Bishop was just the catalyst he needed.
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