No goalie dilemma for Tampa
percentage. That’s some gaudy goalie math.
“He’s locked in, and he’s in command,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of his premier backup. “He’s tracking every puck, he’s playing the puck well, and when the rebounds and stuff is getting a little scrambley he’s the calm of the storm. He’s just swallowing pucks, and he was great for us tonight.”
The 2012 first-round Lightning draft pick signed a contract extension over the summer, and incumbent starter Ben Bishop (75, 2.77 GAA, .909 SP), the 6-foot-6 wunderkind who is now 29 years old, is a pending unrestricted free agent.
If he isn’t re-signed, he’ll likely be a hot free agent commodity on July 1. He might even be available at the trade deadline, especially when you consider Bishop almost was traded at the June draft.
Not that his head coach seems to remember.
“I think, in today’s day and age, it’s tough to play somebody 70plus games,” Cooper said of any goalie. “You need two of them to give yourself a chance, and we’re in an extremely fortunate situation to have two guys the caliber of Vasilevskiy and Bishop. They’re a great tandem because they push each other, they know their roles and they’re good for each other. It’s almost like, Bishop’s been around, and maybe not in the NHL as long as some other guys but he’s been a pro and they’re kind of passing information on to each other and helping each other out.”
Flyers GM Ron Hextall was offering no information on Chris VandeVelde, who was checked from behind into the boards by former Flyer Braydon Coburn and never returned to the game. It’s suspected that VandeVelde is concussed . ... Brayden Schenn may or may not hear from the league on a hit he put on Tampa’s Jonathan Drouin during the game which looked at first like a shoulder shrug to the head. Drouin was out of the game for a while, but returned in time to score on a breakaway in the third period and put the game away. Closer inspection of replays showed that what at first looked like an elbow was indeed a clean-looking shoulder check from Schenn, so probably no worries there . ... It might have had much to do with their five failed power plays, but the Flyers were trounced by the Lightning 21-6 in blocked shots during the game. That’s a category the Flyers won often last season in placing 10th in the league in most blocks. This season, they stand at 17th, averaging 6.4 blocks per game. In viewing Tampa’s 21 blocks, Mark Streit said, “They have their four players within the dots (on the penalty kill) and it’s tough to get the puck through. But a stat like that, that’s probably one of the reasons they win the game.”