Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop didn’t appear to be in any physical pain as he approached reporters Tuesday afternoon ahead of the Bolts’ game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Bishop said he “tweaked something” at the end of a Pittsburgh power play near the end of the first period during a 4-2 loss to the Penguins on Monday. Immediately after, Tampa Bay went on the power play as Steve Downie tripped Victor Hedman, so Bishop decided to gut it out for the final 85 seconds of the opening period.
“I knew that it was something you don’t really want to mess with,” said Bishop, who didn’t return to the game following the first intermission and is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. “It was 1:15 left, we were on the power play, so I wasn’t going to leave the game right then and there because it’s not too often you have too many shots on the power play. I figured I could hold out until then.”
Bishop said the injury wasn’t serious and he hopes to be back either Friday against New Jersey or Saturday versus the New York Islanders. He’s out for tonight’s game against the Flyers.
“Take it kind of day by day and hopefully be back here pretty soon,” he said.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said it was important not to rush Bishop back with just one-third of the season complete.
“I don’t think this is a severely long-term deal, but with goaltenders, especially your starter, this is game 32 or wherever we’re at right now, there’s a long season and you need Bish for the long term,” Cooper said. “He physically cannot go. We’ll reevaluate on the weekend.”
Pittsburgh’s Brandon Sutter scored shorthanded at 19:09 of the first period, but Bishop said his injury had nothing to do with the goal, which ricocheted off the knob of his stick before going into the net.
“Nothing happened on the shot even though it went in. It’s just unfortunate,” said Bishop, who added he had never had a shot tip in off his stick before this season. He’s had two thus far in 2014-15.
Bishop suffered injuries to his wrist and elbow last season but still played in 63 games, compiling a 37-14-7 record in a breakout year. The elbow injury, however, kept him out of the Lightning’s Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens.
Bishop had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist in April.
Bishop is 16-6-2 with one shutout in 26 appearances for the Lightning this season.
“Really frustrating, especially the way things have been going and the way we were playing [in the first period against Pittsburgh],” Bishop said. “I thought we were playing extremely well. It’s just never fun whenever you have to leave the game. I take a lot of pride in playing a lot of minutes and a lot of games.”