Status: Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender
Ht: 6-foot-7 Wt: 214 pounds
DOB: Nov. 21, 1986 In: Denver, Colo.
First Hockey Memory: “Going to a Blues game, with my dad (Ben).”
Last Book Read: “I haven’t read a book in a while but…Andre Agassi’s Open.”
Current Car: “I have a Ford Expedition (black).”
Greatest Sports Moment: “Probably my first NHL game. It’s something you always dream of. Then when it happens, it’s a pretty cool moment.” Read more
There weren’t many teams that had legitimate goaltending questions heading into the post-season. Of those that did, however, were the Red Wings, but before the first-round series between Detroit and Tampa Bay, Mike Babcock named Petr Mrazek his starter. Five games later, the choice couldn’t look much more genius.
Through the first three games of the series, Mrazek allowed six goals and had completely shut down the powerful Lightning offense in Game 3, posting a 22-save shutout in the Red Wings’ first home game of the post-season. In Game 4, for almost the entire outing, it was much of the same. However, following a few defensive breakdowns after Mrazek had shut the door for nearly the entirety of the contest, Tampa Bay found the back of the net three times in quick succession and shockingly stole an overtime win.
In Game 5, though, the 23-year-old Czech netminder posted a 28-save clean sheet, his second in five games, and almost single-handedly pushed the Red Wings to a 3-2 series lead. Read more
There will eventually be a season in Detroit where there isn’t a new, young, fresh-faced forward scoring goals when the Detroit Red Wings need it most. Unfortunately for the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2014-15 isn’t going to be that season.
Late in the first period of Game 5, with the first-round series between Detroit and Tampa Bay tied 2-2, 23-year-old Riley Sheahan set up on his off-wing on the power play. And, from the spot where big time snipers like Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos usually set up to uncork one-timers with the man advantage, Sheahan received a perfect pass in his wheelhouse from Niklas Kronwall and blasted it home. Blink and you’ll miss it: Read more
Heading into the playoffs, the one area of concern about the Tampa Bay Lightning was that starting goalie Ben Bishop may not be experienced enough in the post-season to thrive, and the rest of the team would pay the price if he struggled. And it wasn’t an ill-founded concern: although he deserves all kinds of credit for posting a 40-13-5 regular-season mark this year, the reality is the 28-year-old Bishop had just a single game’s worth of experience at the professional hockey level – and it came in the American League in 2011. So when Bishop batted a puck into his own net late in the second period of Game 4 of the Bolts’ first-round series against Detroit (a series the Lightning trailed the Red Wings in two games to one) a massive upset not only was continuing to materialize, but enter its late stages.
However, in a span of one minute and 17 seconds in the third period, Tampa Bay – specifically, blossoming star center Tyler Johnson, who scored his third goal of the playoffs at 14:34, then assisted on Ondrej Palat’s game-tying goal at 15:51 – erased all the trouble signs with a pair of goals to send a shocked Wings squad into overtime. And only 2:25 into the extra frame, Johnson scored his second of the night to win it and even up the series at two games apiece.
Don’t count out the Lightning just yet. In fact, with the series shifting back to Tampa Bay for Game 5 Saturday and again for a potential Game 7 Wednesday, it’s probably safer if you count them in. The rapid emergence of the 24-year-old Johnson as a game-changer nearing the level of teammate Steven Stamkos (who, incredibly, is still looking for his first goal of the series) is an incredibly positive harbinger of what could be to come for the Bolts the rest of this post-season and the playoffs to come. Read more
Ben Bishop hasn’t been having the best post-season for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and his troubles continued Thursday in Game 4 of the Bolts’ first-round series against Detroit when he batted a shot from Red Wings winger Joakim Andersson into his own net.
Leading the Lightning 2-1 in their series heading into Game 4, the Wings were already up 1-0 Thursday in Detroit when Bishop deflected Andersson’s snap shot with his glove late in the second period and tried to bat the puck away with his stick. Unfortunately for Bishop, the puck went off his crossbar, and when he stretched back to try and stop it from crossing the goal line – you guessed it – he pushed it just enough to cross the goal line: Read more
We’ve all seen this before, so suffice to say Steven Stamkos would not be the first star to be collared and rendered ineffective by Pavel Datsyuk. And even though the injury-prone Datsyuk is 36 and clearly entering the twilight of his career, Stamkos probably won’t be the last.
Datsyuk has gone mano-a-mano, superstar against superstar with Stamkos in this series and has pretty much rendered Stamkos ineffective, going into Game 4 of the Detroit Red Wings series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Stamkos has 11 shots and just two assists in the series so far, with eight of those shots coming in the Lightning’s Game 1 loss to the Red Wings. Read more
NHL hockey has seen its best TV ratings of all-time this decade when you factor in the American markets. The game has never been as popular as it is today. And yet, among the four major North American sports, hockey still suffers from younger sibling syndrome, doesn’t it?
When Charles Barkley briefly mentioned Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper during an NBA playoff telecast Tuesday night, people got excited. The story popped up on the Lightning’s website.
Here’s the clip from Tuesday’s edition of Inside the NBA on TNT. Barkley, a hockey fan, starts by mentioning how he watched Game 4 of the Capitals/Islanders series and wants to know what happened in the Blackhawks/Predators overtime. Then, the shoutout to Tampa’s ‘Coach Coop’ at the end:
When THN staffers gathered last summer to make pre-season predictions for our Yearbook, one of the more spirited debates was focused on the potential of the Detroit Red Wings. Some editorial department members believed the Wings were fading, didn’t have adequate superstars to replace their cornerstone members, and didn’t deserve to be one of our choices as a playoff team. However, a few dissenters (present company included) on staff were wary of putting them behind a team such as the Florida Panthers, if only because, when you make the post-season 23 consecutive seasons, you should probably get the benefit of the doubt over a franchise infamous for mismanagement.
In any case, the larger group at THN decided to put Florida ahead of Detroit, and you know what happened next: the Wings weren’t perfect and ended the season on a skid, but still played well enough to make it into the playoffs for the 24th straight year. For that achievement, their reward in the first round was the young and skilled Tampa Bay Lightning – a team that had eight more regulation/overtime wins than the Wings and one that was the sexy pre-season pick for many (present company included) to win the Eastern Conference and play in the Stanley Cup Final – and once again, there were more than a few people prepared to write them off and predict a Bolts series victory.
We all should’ve known better. We should’ve known a Mike Babcock-coached and Ken Holland-managed team was never going to play patsy for anybody. And after Game 3 Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena ended in a 3-0 Detroit win and a 2-1 series lead for the lower-ranked team, nobody should be finalizing plans to see second-round hockey in Tampa Bay just yet.
To use a line made famous by the legendary wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, just when you think you’ve got all the answers for the Red Wings, they change the questions. Read more