No goalie dilemma for Tampa

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Rob Par­ent

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.”

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