Two of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s key players finally acknowledged exactly what everyone suspected: They played the majority of the Stanley Cup Final with significant injuries.
Goaltender Ben Bishop said after Chicago’s 2–0 series clinching-victory in Game 6 that he battled through the last three games of series with a tear in his groin that he suffered while stopping a shot by Blackhawks center Brad Richards in the third period of Tampa Bay’s 4–3 victory in Game 2, which he was forced to leave. He says the injury won’t require off-season surgery.
Bishop, who had a .924 save percentage in the series, played hurt during the Lightning’s Game 3 victory, but sat out Game 4.
“I couldn’t move,” he told to USA Today. “It was one of those things where if I went out there, I could have torn it completely and I would have been done for the series.”
Bishop was replaced in Game 4 by Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped 17 of the Blackhawks’ 19 shots, but Tampa Bay came up short, losing 2–1.
Bishop came back to play in Games 5 and 6.
Tampa Bay center Tyler Johnson also told reporters after the loss in the series finale that he had been playing with a broken right wrist, which he suffered early in the series. Johnson scored only one goal and added one assist in against Chicago and stopped taking face-offs, a sure sign that something was wrong with his hands.
- Scooby Axson