The Tampa Bay Lightning are off to a 4-2 start this season, and while many of the headlines focus on their incredibly talented offensive players, their goaltender has quietly turned in an impressive start as well. While the offense has thrived while being led by Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell, goaltender Ben Bishop has been the starter for all four wins while posting a 1.71 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage. It has become clear that for the moment Bishop, not Anders Lindback, has the top netminding job with the Lightning as long as he continues to perform this well. On Tuesday, he turned aside 30 of the 31 Los Angeles Kings shots he faced, and outdueled former Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick.
Stamkos, Purcell and St. Louis have each found the back of the net four times in the first six games, and so has offseason signing Valtteri Filppula. The Lightning missed the playoffs last season despite St. Louis (17 goals, 60 points) winning the Art Ross Trophy last season, with Stamkos right behind him with 29 goals and 57 points. They finished the season near the top of the league in goals per game, averaging 3.06 – but they also allowed an average of 3.06 goals per game. Goaltending was an issue for the team all season, which is why the y traded for Bishop, who struggled to a 3-4-1 record in Tampa after a strong start to the season with the Ottawa Senators. If Bishop’s start to the season is something he can sustain, then the Lightning are in great shape this season. They have some of the best scoring talent in the entire league, and now may have found a goaltender capable of doing the rest of the work to bring home wins.