Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Bishop a bona fide No. 1 goalie for Tampa Bay Lightning

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Bishop is playing like a potential Vezina Trophy finalist for the Tampa Bay Lightning. His incredible play has boosted the Lightning to the top of the Atlantic Division with an impressive 11-4 record. The tendency with Tampa is just to assume that they’re scoring 12 goals a game and that a goalie just needs to be solid to get wins.

While that’s the case on some nights, the Lightning are only the sixth-best offensive team in the NHL at the moment. That shouldn’t be surprising given the level of talent they have, but it’s the improved play in the defensive zone and the Bishop’s high level of play that has the Lightning thinking of bigger and better things in 2013-14.

Tampa is also the eleventh-best team when it comes to goals allowed on the season, and when coupled with a stellar offense the combination has been tough to stop. Bishop is tied for the league lead with 10 wins, giving him an outstanding 10-2 record. While there are still rumblings that he hasn’t cemented his place as the No. 1 goalie for the Lightning, a glance at his stats to this point should dispel any doubt.

His 2.14 GAA is microscopic, and if he sustains that level of play Bishop will likely finish among the league leaders in that category by the end of the season. The .928 save percentage is outstanding as well. While he’ll have to overcome some stiff competition from the likes of Tuukka Rask, Josh Harding and Semyon Varlamov to climb up the individual stat charts, he’s giving Tampa a chance to win every night, which is the most important job for goalies in this league.

The season is long of course, and 12 games doesn’t make you an All-Star, but Bishop is well on his way to establishing himself as a bona fide starting goalie in this league. Tampa Bay has only been a netminder away from being able to make some noise over the last two seasons, and it appears that they’ve finally found their guy in Bishop.

Tags: Ben Bishop NHL Tampa Bay Lightning

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