As a result, the New York Islanders posted a 5-3 victory over the Lightning in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference second-round series Wednesday night at Amalie Arena. Bishop, 29, gave up four goals on 13 shots and was pulled at 8:59 of the second period and replaced by backup Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Entering Game 1, Bishop had given up two or fewer goals in eight consecutive playoff games.
“It was one of those nights where things didn’t really seem to go your way,” Bishop said. “I felt good out there. First [goal], I was trying to make a blocker save and somehow it finds a hole. Second one, I’m not really going to play it any different. Third one, my stick kind of gets caught up with [forward Ryan Callahan] and obviously the fourth one is a great shot. So, it’s going to happen. It’s one of those things you’ve got to move on from. We’ve got a game in a couple of days here, forget about it and move forward.”
This wasn’t the first time Bishop has been pulled in a playoff game.
During last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, he was pulled in Game 4 of the second-round series against the Montreal Canadiens after he gave up three goals on 14 shots in 25:08. In Game 6 of the conference finals against the New York Rangers, Bishop surrendered five goals on 26 shots in a 7-3 loss on home ice. He bounced back in Game 7, posting a 22-save shutout en route to a 2-0 win against the Rangers to send the Lightning to the finals.
“Yeah, obviously this is not the first time it’s happened, a couple of times last year,” Bishop said. “It’s not about the last game anymore, it’s all about the next one and just focus on that.”
Lightning coach Jon Cooper was not worried about Bishop.
“It’s not the first time we’ve ever pulled Bish,” Cooper said. “He’s shown a propensity when that’s happened to him, he has a bounce-back game. It was just one of those nights when pucks had eyes.
“Bish is Bish. The kid bounces back, so I’m not worried.”
While Bishop struggled, Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss was solid in his 33-save performance for his third straight postseason win. He came up with the timely saves in the third period when the Lightning were pressuring and scored twice. Cooper said after the game he thought they were going to pull ahead, but Greiss was solid.
At the very least, the Islanders will come away with a split in Tampa, which is fine by them. The Lightning can build off their third period in hopes of tying this series Saturday.
“We know they are going to respond, so we have to come out on Saturday even better,” said Islanders captain John Tavares, who scored his sixth goal of the playoffs. “I think our team’s been through a lot over the years battled through a lot of adversity. It’s a first for a lot of us getting to this point but at the same time, we’ve approached each game the whole year the same. We just want to keep finding ways to get better as a team.
“I think our group’s got a great mindset, a lot of confidence, but we know we’ve got to keep getting better.”
Long after Game 1 was complete and Bishop emerged from the dressing room to discuss his night, no one would have guessed the outcome of the game by his demeanor. That’s one reason he led the Lightning to the finals in 2015. That’s one reason he’s a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. That’s why he has a short memory.
“Yeah, absolutely. That’s the big thing about the playoffs, it only matters if you win or lost,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how you play. It doesn’t matter if you give up 10, or zero, or one. If you lose a game, you lose a game. You can’t really do anything about it, so it’s all about getting ready for the next game if you win or lose. It’s kind of easy at this point of the year where your numbers aren’t really that important. It’s more just wins and losses.”