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Lightning keeping faith in Bishop for Game 2

Tampa Bay expects goalie to rebound from being pulled in Game 1 against Islanders

by Corey Long / Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop proved several times in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs he could bounce back from a bad game.

Bishop, a Vezina Trophy finalist, will be expected to rebound in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Islanders at Amalie Arena on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports). 

The Islanders won Game 1 of the best-of-7 series 5-3 on Wednesday. Bishop was pulled for Andrei Vasilevskiy midway through the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots. 

"I felt good," Bishop said after the game. "Just one of those nights were [the puck] wasn't really hitting me. It doesn't matter if you give up 10 or zero or one, if you lose a game you can't really do anything about it."

Going into the 2015 playoffs, Bishop was one of the Lightning's big question marks. He was a Vezina finalist in 2013-14 but missed the postseason with an injury and had no NHL playoff experience. 

Bishop silenced some critics with a 31-save shutout of the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the 2015 Eastern Conference First Round.

He has been pulled in the playoffs before. In Game 6 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers, Bishop was removed after giving up five goals in a 7-3 loss. Three days later he had a 22-save shutout in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden to eliminate the Rangers. 

Bishop had a 2.18 goals-against average and three shutouts that postseason to help Tampa Bay reach the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, where they lost in six games.

"He's shown a propensity, when [he has been pulled], he has a bounce-back game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "The kid bounces back so I'm not worried."

Bishop said he's always had high expectations of himself so he doesn't feel any added pressure.

"For me it's just staying in my structure and doing what I do," Bishop said. "I'm not going to change the way I play and prepare for a game. I expect to be better but I'm not going to change anything."

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said Bishop's results speak for themselves over the past couple of years and that the goalie continues to do everything necessary to improve.

"He's one of the best goalies in the world for a reason," Stamkos said. "I know he's nominated for the Vezina and that came out, but that doesn't mean much in this room, [because] we know what we have in a world-class goaltender. Just watching him get out there again [Thursday] with an optional skate, working on his game, it's old hat for him now. He goes out there, works and then gets rewarded for his efforts."

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