The Tampa Bay Lightning were forced to use their back-up goaltender during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final with starter Ben Bishop out with an undisclosed ailment. The Lightning fell 2-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks and saw their 2-1 series lead evened 2-2 on Wednesday night.
Andrei Vasilevskiy performed fairly admirably in Bishop’s absence, stopping 17 of 19 shots, but if Tampa Bay is going to win what has become a best-of-three series, they will need their starter back between the pipes.
Not only did Bishop not play on Wednesday, he did not even dress. AHL call-up Kristers Gudlevskis served as the team’s backup.
“Bishop’s going to play again this series,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told NBC Sports after Game 4. “There’s no question.
“I just don’t know when.”
Just because he wants Bishop back does not mean Cooper was disappointed with Vasilevskiy’s performance.
“If you tell me we’re going to come in and [Vasilevskiy’s] going to give up two goals, that’s a hell of a job in my book,” the Lightning head coach explained. “We’ve had a lot of success when we only give up two. That kid gave us every chance to win the hockey game. We only scored one.
“I thought he was great. He showed at the pinnacle of the sport that he can play. That’s a pretty big achievement for a 20-year-old.”