FullTilt Breakdown: Beating Ben Bishop
Coming into the Eastern Conference Finals, one of the major concerns for the Rangers was beating Ben Bishop. The huge goaltender stands in at 6’7″ and covers a ton of net, even when he drops down early. His career line before this series against the Rangers was a perfect 8-0 record with a 1.49 GAA and stellar .946 SV%.
After 4 games in the ECF, the Rangers have officially shattered any mystique around Bishop’s ownership of them. His .500 record through 4 games is more a testament of the Lightning’s offense than his net-minding. Bishop’s 3.50 GAA and .882 SV% are proof of that now.
So how have the Rangers done it? By getting the big goalie to move, capitalizing on his rebound control and the fact that he goes down early and often. 57% of Rangers goals have been to Bishop’s blocker side. Maybe the Rangers coaches found a flaw in his game to that side. The Blueshirts have in total banged in 5 rebounds, scored on 2 breakaways, 2 off the pass across the slot, 1 unscreened slap shot and 4 busted plays that came off a lucky bounce.
4 of the 6 goals scored high have beaten him clean. That’s because he’s been down early and out of position on 35% of the scores. Here’s a prime example in Game 4, Martin St. Louis‘ PP one-time goes into an empty net because Bishop was down on the pass.
This also happened in Game 3 on a goal by Ryan McDonagh where he was on the ice before the shot. It was an easy lift over the prone goalie.
In Game 2, Derek Stepan scored a goal that Ben Bishop looked like he was playing right defense on. Another example that clearly shows how he has been out of position.
When you look at his rebound control, you will see that it could be an even bigger weakness for him going forward. In that same game, Chris Kreider grabbed a juicy rebound and slipped it right by him.
In his last two games, Bishop’s rebound control has gotten worse allowing 4 goals off of poor control. The one goal that went through his legs was off a rebound that Kreider easily slipped past him.
Last night, Stephen Valiquette was talking about many of these issues. He pointed out that the Rangers need to keep him moving so they can open the big goaltender “like a can of tuna”. He’s absolutely right, but the Rangers need to keep shooting high since he likes to go down early and continue to find those big juicy rebounds.
The story before yesterday was how bad Henrik Lundqvist was playing. The King found his redemption and got away from Bishop’s “check”. If Bishop can’t find his redemption soon, Lundqvist and the Rangers “checkmate” will be inevitable.