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Bishop 'all good' to start Game 7 after injury scare

The Stars netminder says he's ready after taking a puck to the collarbone in Sunday's Game 6

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop is good to go for Game 7 on Tuesday night (7 p.m. CT; NBCSN; KTCK) against the St. Louis Blues.

Bishop, who took a hard shot off the collarbone in Sunday's Game 6 loss to the Blues, said Monday he is fine.

"All good," Bishop said. "It's good."

No ill effects?

"No, I'm good," he said. "Skated today."

 

[RELATED: What you need to know for Game 7 | Stars' season comes down to must-win series finale]

 

There was concern about Bishop after he was hit with the shot off the stick of St. Louis defenseman Colton Parayko in the third period Sunday. Bishop immediately dropped to the ice and was writhing in pain.

"Not a good spot," Bishop said of getting hit on the collarbone. "You have padding, but it doesn't matter when the guy has probably the second-hardest shot in the league. It's all right, though."

While Bishop was down on the ice, the Blues maintained possession of the puck and Jaden Schwartz deflected an Alex Steen shot into the open net to grab a 3-1 lead. There was controversy over whether play should have stopped.

The league maintained on-ice officials followed the rules in not stopping play because St. Louis still had the puck and that referees did not consider Bishop's injury serious.

Video: Bishop on getting nod in Game 7 after injury scare

"That's what the rule says, 8.1. It means they don't kill the play until they (the Stars) get possession of the puck," said Kay Whitmore, who is the series supervisor for the NHL. "The puck hit him in the shoulder, and they didn't deem it serious."

Stars coach Jim Montgomery didn't dispute the call after the game. Bishop was asked Monday if he thought play should have been stopped.

"It's up to the ref, I guess," Bishop said. "It's one of those things. I would say, most of the time, they do. But they didn't. That's obviously not the difference in the game."

And Bishop said it doesn't matter now and it is onto Game 7 in St. Louis Tuesday night. And when it comes to Bishop, no matter what game it is -- playoffs, regular season, or preseason -- his approach doesn't change.

You prepare the same way for a preseason game, a regular season game and a Game 7," said Bishop "I think that's what helps is you don't change anything."

Montgomery said that approach is what makes Bishop so good and so consistently good at his job.

"He's very even keel," Montgomery said. "The way he approaches his games, whether it is a regular season or a Game 7, Bish is always dialed into the right mindset to give him success."

And Bishop has had his share of success.

He's a Vezina Trophy finalist this season for top goaltender in the league; the third time he's been a finalist in his career. He led the league in save percentage (.934) and goals saved above average (32.24) and ranked second in goals-against average (1.98).


"He's a major part of why we're here in the first place, and he's a goalie that when he's in the net your team plays more confident in front of him.," said Stars forward Andrew Cogliano. "He plays the pucks. He's big. He swallows up rebounds. He's a Vezina candidate for a reason. He's the guy that we need in there for a game like this."

Bishop has had his share of playoff success as well, and that's something the Stars believe will be an advantage in a big game like the seventh game of a series.

Bishop has 48 NHL playoff games under his belt, and 28 playoff wins. He helped Tampa Bay get to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, winning two Game 7s along the way and pitching shutouts in both.

"Yeah, for sure it is a big advantage when your goaltender has been in these games before," Montgomery said. "He's been to the Stanley Cup Finals, and he's had success in these kinds of games."

And Bishop has shown the ability to bounce back after tough games.

He is 3-1 in this year's playoffs following a loss with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage. He's been able to bounce back throughout his career. He is 12-3 and one no decision following a loss in his playoff career with a 1.65 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.

In the 2015 Eastern Conference Final, he was pulled in Game 6 after allowing five goals in a 7-3 loss to the New York Rangers and came back to toss a 22-save shutout on the road in Game 7 as the Lightning advanced to the Cup final.

And now he and the Stars will look to come up big in Game 7 Tuesday night in St. Louis and punch their ticket to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2008.

"Obviously it's a Game 7, it's a do-or-die (game). But you have to approach it the same way," Bishop said. "You can't get too high on it. You just have to go in and do what you do every single game, don't change anything. Obviously, you have to play your game."

Video: Monty on Game 7: 'This is what legends are made of'

 

Hanley could return for Game 7, Oleksiak out

Montgomery said he believes that defenseman Joel Hanley would be available to play Tuesday. Hanley has been out with an upper-body injury.

Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who last played in Game 6 of the Nashville series, is still not ready due to a lower-body injury, Montgomery said. Oleksiak did not travel with the team to St. Louis.

Video: Cogliano confident heading into Game 7 against Blues

 

L'Esperance joins Stars for trip

Stars center Roope Hintz was wearing a walking boot on his left foot Monday, most likely as a result of blocking a shot in Sunday's game.

Tweet from @MDeFranks: This is the shot Roope Hintz blocked in the first period Sunday afternoon. pic.twitter.com/Arr7cZTRSZ

Perhaps related, center Joel L'Esperance is traveling with the team for the first time during the playoffs.

For complete postseason coverage, visit Stars Playoff Central.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for DallasStars.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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