TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop left Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs early with an upper-body injury after landing on his left side in the first period, and he’ll miss Thursday’s home contest against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The incident happened five minutes, 43 seconds into the Lightning’s 3-0 victory at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Bishop extended his glove hand mid-leap during a dive to collect the puck and landed awkwardly on his left side. He required assistance by a trainer and Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer to leave the ice. He was taken into the dressing room in obvious pain, and Anders Lindback replaced him in net.
Bishop did not return. Lindback had 25 saves in the victory, his sixth in 20 starts this season.
"Bish wasn’t scheduled to start against Philly anyway," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "So he won’t play against Philly."
After the game, Cooper said he was unsure what tests had been performed on Bishop, so no further details or plans were given regarding the goaltender’s situation. Cooper said a call-up from the Syracuse Crunch, the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate, is expected to help bolster depth with three games left in the regular season.
A long-term absence by Bishop would be a significant blow to the Lightning, who clinched a playoff berth last Tuesday. Bishop is 37-14-7 this season, setting the Tampa Bay franchise record for wins in a year on March 15 with a victory over the New Jersey Devils, then his 31st. He has five shutouts, and he’s tied for sixth in the NHL with a .924 save percentage.
He ranks ninth in the league with a 2.23 goals-against average.
"It wasn’t good," Lightning winger Ondrej Palat said. "I didn’t feel good. But hopefully, he’s going to be all right, and we’ll see."
Though the severity of Bishop’s injury is unknown, the development represents more adversity for a team no stranger to trial this season. Tampa Bay’s most significant hurdles include center Steven Stamkos’ absence for 45 games because of a broken right tibia sustained Nov. 11 and former captain Marty St. Louis’ trade to the New York Rangers on March 5.
Now, the Lightning could face another test.
"It’s obviously tough to see," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. "Like everyone knows, Bish has been great all year. He has been a difference-maker for us. Without him, we would probably not be in the mix going into the playoffs. But we need to face adversity one more time."