It’s funny how some narratives die (or at least get the volume turned down) and some blow up to a ridiculous degree, all based on what happens afterward.
How many terrible turnovers or goals allowed have been more-or-less forgotten with time thanks to a player or netminder getting bailed out by victory? Really, sometimes that same person gets a shot at redemption and nails it. Pity those who do not.
Jon Cooper sure looks a lot better after Game 3 expired than he did as people watched in confusion as Ben Bishop trotted out onto the ice after the first intermission. Let’s discuss the whys, hows and what-thes? in the latest Dose.
LIGHTNING 3, BLACKHAWKS 2
-- I'm with the legions of people who believe that yes, Bishop doesn't look right. But man, did he sure make an impression by gutting things out and managing some serious stops.
(Sure, the Brad Richards PPG wasn't good, but I doubt maybe goalies would have stopped that Brandon Saad tally, and his mini-break stop on Antoine Vermette should cost the latter at least $500K this summer ...)
Bishop stopped 36 out of 38 shots even though it looked like he struggled to lift himself up from his butterfly position at times.
Gotta say, normally I roll my eyes at The Controversy of the Moment, but this one seems reasonable enough to me. Bishop seems like he's playing injured, and honestly, Andrei Vasilevskiy seems like a perfectly reasonable substitute. Maybe Bishop's compromised lateral movement - OK, perceived compromised lateral movement - failed to haunt Tampa Bay in Game 3, but what about going forward? What if Chicago has some time to gameplan that limited movement?
It's one thing to beat Chicago two or even three times in a series, but four is a whole other ballgame.
-- Victor Hedman had a real star-making performance in Game 3, as he was the driving force of the Lightning's first and third goals. He got the primary assists on both, and honestly really made them happen. He also made some great plays that didn't really show up in the box score.
It seemed like he was going to have a really big breakout season (from very good to elite), but injuries kind of derailed things. With four assists in the past two games, he now has 14 points in 23 postseason contests, setting a new Lightning franchise record for a defenseman.
-- Some of the best hockey-heavy (not really drama-free) moments of Game 3 came when Hedman battled with Marian Hossa. It makes sense, then, that Hossa generated two primary assists himself.
It's remarkable that he's 36 and seems to only be playing better as the postseason goes along. I wonder, if Chicago has to trade talent away to save money, might they need to part with Hossa?
If not, it's hard to imagine him not being a sturdy, dominating presence, yet it has to happen at some point. Right?
-- Whoa, I didn't realize Ryan Callahan had THAT in him. That 1-0 goal reminded me of the slapper goal that Steve Yzerman unleashed to eliminate the St. Louis Blues many moons ago. Callahan hasn't been very effective - this was just his second goal of the playoffs - but that's a reminder that you can't allow even a solid player that kind of space at this level.
-- It honestly kind of blew my mind that Ondrej Palat erased Chicago's 3-2 lead 13 seconds after Saad pulled the 'Hawks ahead. Pretty ridiculous, which is probably how I'd describe this series so far.
-- Cedric Paquette only has three points (all goals) in the postseason so far, yet he has a two-game goal streak going. Could he serve as a poor man's Antoine Roussel going forward? Regardless, he's made his presence felt.