The 2015 Stanley Cup Finals heads to Chicago on Monday night as the Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning both try to take a 2-1 series lead. With the game just hours away from starting, it’s still unknown who’ll be between the pipes for Tampa Bay.
Starting goaltender Ben Bishop started Tampa Bay’s Game 2 victory, but he left the contest twice. Bishop and the team have kept quiet on what the issue was, as well as whom will start Game 3.
"I feel like Marshawn Lynch right now,” Bishop told reporters after Monday’s morning skate.
Bishop has a .918 save percentage in the playoffs, recording three shutouts on the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. He allowed five goals in three separate Eastern Conference Finals games, but he also held the New York Rangers scoreless in Game 5 and Game 7.
If Bishop can’t play, backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the call. He faced five shots in Saturday’s contest, stopping them all. The 20-year-old has limited experience, playing in just 16 regular-season games as a rookie, and making three appearances this postseason.
But Tampa Bay has made it clear that they believe they can win no matter who gets the start.
"We have full confidence in him," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "I know a lot of us talked about it [Saturday] night after the game. I think it's helped him that he's been thrown in the fire a little bit in the playoffs. We've been in some tough games where we've left (Bishop) out to dry, giving him a rest, he's come in. He's been in different situations. He had a couple goals scored on him early, didn't rattle him. Like last game, came in, played well, made some saves.”
Stamkos said after Game 2 that none of the players knew what was going on with Bishop. The captain led the team with 43 regular-season goals and was tied with Tyler Johnson with 72 points, but he hasn’t scored a point in either of the first two games.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has an assist in the series, but Patrick Kane doesn’t have a point. Kane leads Chicago with 20 points in the playoffs, and he ended the Western Conference Finals with five points in two games. But he didn’t even record a shot on net in Game 2.
“I can't just go out on the ice and worry about shooting the puck,” Kane said. “I got to worry about making the right play. If that play is making a pass, and you know, I'll make that play.”
With the Blackhawks playing their first home game of the finals, they’re slightly favored to take a 2-1 series lead.
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network
Online Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Prediction: Chicago over Tampa Bay, 3-2