The Montreal Canadiens may have caught a huge break Tuesday when their first-round playoff opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning, lost No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop to injury. Bishop was in net in the first period of the Bolts’ home game against Toronto when he jumped to make a save and fell awkwardly on his left side:
Bishop left the game and suffered what the team would only refer to in the vaguest of terms:
Official word on Ben Bishop is that he suffered an upper body injury and will not return to the game. #TBLightning
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) April 9, 2014
The 27-year-old is in the midst of a breakout season and has been the Lightning’s most valuable player, particularly early in the year when star forward Steven Stamkos was sidelined. Backup Anders Lindback has struggled all year (3.26 goals-against average, .878 save percentage in 20 games played), so if Bishop is out for any long stretch, GM Steve Yzerman may turn to Latvian Olympic star Kristers Gudlevskis, who has a .901 SP and 2.68 G.A.A. with Tampa’s American League affiliate in Syracuse.
The Lightning have done well enough without Stamkos, and after trading former captain Martin St-Louis. But losing Bishop for the first round will spell almost certain doom against the Habs and star goalie Carey Price.