Ben Bishop ruled out for Game 1 of series vs. Canadiens

By Brian Stubits |

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The Tampa Bay Lightning will have to begin their playoff series with the Montreal Canadiens without their top goaltender, Ben Bishop.

Bishop, who suffered an upper-body injury with a week to go in the season, has been on the shelf since with no clear timetable for a return. The hope was Bishop would be ready to play when the playoffs open on Wednesday. He won't.

Coach Jon Cooper didn't say much about Bishop on Tuesday but he did say this; he's out for Game 1 (via @Missy_Zielinski).

Bishop waned a bit as the season went on but still finished with a 37-14-7 record this season and a .924 save percentage. He, as much as anybody else, is why the Lightning were able to step back into the playoffs this season. Goaltending has been a major weakness for a while now and Bishop gave them the play they had been missing. Any game without him will be tough.

With Bishop out, it means the Lighting will turn to Anders Lindback. He really struggled this season while Bishop excelled, finishing with a save percentage of .891 and a record of 8-12-2. The difference between the two was significant. However Lindback did perform very well in the final week and helped the Lightning earn home-ice advantage vs. Montreal, well enough to earn an honor as one of the NHL's three stars of the week.

Strong finish or not, that was in the regular season and not against a Habs team that has been more potent of late. If the Lightning are going to prevail in what should be a very evenly matched series, they'll need Bishop back as soon as possible.

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