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Lightning coach: Ben Bishop won't be ready 'anytime soon'

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

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Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop missed the first game of Tampa Bay's series against the Montreal Canadiens and he might miss a lot more.

Bishop, who had a Vezina-finalist quality season for the somewhat surprising Bolts, was injured with a week to go in the regular season, reaching out to snag a puck out of the air in a game against Toronto. He appeared to injure either his arm or shoulder and left the game.

The Lightning haven't had a timeline for a return but on Thursday coach Jon Cooper said it's possible Bishop won't play at all in this series unless the Bolts can take it the distance.

Ouch.

The dropoff this season between Bishop and his backup Anders Lindback was huge. While Bishop had a great season to finish 37-14-1 with a .924 save percentage, Lindback was just 8-12-2 with an .891 save percentage. So yes, being without Bishop is awfully bad news for the Lightning.

However Lindback has played well in Bishop's absence. He earned one of the NHL's three stars of the week in the final week of the season and played well enough in Game 1 against the Canadiens despite giving up five goals. The Canadiens brought a lot of pressure on him, firing 44 shots in the game with him stopping 39.

His rebound control was poor at times and he tends to move a lot in the crease but he was not at the top of the reasons why the Lightning lost. They were outplayed, as Cooper admitted, and that's not all on Lindback.

Still, all things being equal the Lightning would undoubtedly like to have a healthy Bishop in net vs. a Canadiens offense that is seemingly only getting hotter by the day.

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