Three Stars: Bishop steadies Lightning in Game 4 win
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Just one game on the Friday night slate, and it was the Tampa Bay Lightning netting a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders on Jason Garrison’s overtime blast just 1:34 into the extra stanza. The Lightning took a 3-1 lead in the series with the Game 4 victory.
Here’s who caught our eye:
Ben Bishop, Lightning
After a rough first few minutes that saw him get whacked in the head and let in a power-play goal, Bishop settled in and played a great game. He made 27 saves, and was particularly sharp in the first period when the Islanders had 16 shots. He was helped out a few times by his posts, but more importantly, kept his team in the game when it looked completely flat. Many of his saves came on Grade-A chances. The game could’ve easily been 3-0 Islanders after the first. Bishop’s steady play helped lead to a Lightning victory.
Nikita Kucherov, Lightning
The best offensive player for the Lightning—non Steven Stamkos division—is Kucherov. The 22-year-old Russian tied the game midway through the third period on an absolute snipe, making it the second game in a row that he tied the score in the third period. Kucherov led all Lightning forwards in ice time at 23:32 and racked up a team-high four shots on goal. He now has scored eight goals in nine postseason games, tops in the postseason.
Thomas Greiss, Islanders
If anybody picked Greiss as a leading Conn Smythe candidate before the playoffs started, well, that person has yet to step forward. The 30-year-old journeyman backup made 22 saves on Friday, and didn’t let a nearly five minute absence from a busted skate derail his focus. He entered Friday’s game with a 2.34 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage in nine contests. Both goals he let up in Game 4 were blasts through traffic in front. He’s given the Islanders, who have struggled to score in this postseason, a chance to win every night. Friday was no different.