Ben Bishop to sit rest of regular season, playoffs start uncertain

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

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It's a good thing the Tampa Bay Lightning already have their playoff position all but locked because goaltender Ben Bishop won't play the final games of the regular season.

Bishop left the Lightning's game against the Maple Leafs in the first period on Tuesday night after sustaining an upper-body injury while snagging the puck out of the air. He didn't return, leaving his status for the playoffs in question, a scary proposition for the Lightning.

While there's still no definite timeline, Bishop is done for the regular season, or what's left of it at least.

(Kristers Gudlevskis, you might remember, was the goaltender for Latvia that played so well against Canada in the Olympics.)

Obviously the season's final games are not the concern for the Lightning. It's possible Bishop was going to sit them out anyway as the Lightning have little to play for in the last couple of games. The concern is if he'll be ready for the playoffs when they start in a week.

Being the former lawyer that he is, coach Jon Cooper left it in limbo.

That doesn't sound very positive but remember that Cooper is pretty talented in the world of semantics so it's hard to try and read too much into it.

But whatever the Lightning need to do, whether it's pray, perform some crazy superstitious ritual or whatever, they want Bishop back for the playoffs. The difference between Bishop (.924 save percentage) and his backup Anders Lindback (.884 save percentage) has been dramatic and Bishop's play is as big of a reason as any why the Lightning are returning to the postseason.

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