Ben Bishop leaves game twice in Lightning win over Blackhawks


Ben Bishop leaves game twice in Lightning win over Blackhawks

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper didn’t even wait for the question to arise in his post-game press conference.

“Before we get going, and I hate to be that guy,” Cooper said. “I will not answer a question about the goaltending or what happened tonight.”

It was interesting, to be sure, when Lightning starting goaltender Ben Bishop left the game midway through the third period, came back moments later, then left again for the rest of the game. Andrei Vasilevskiy relieved Bishop and got the victory as the Lightning held on to beat the Blackhawks, 4-3, in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night. Vasilevskiy was in net when Jason Garrison scored the game-winning, power-play goal, which is why he got the victory.

[MORE: Lightning stave off Blackhawks in Game 2, even up series]

So is Bishop injured? Was it just something minor and he was kept out for precautionary reasons? Cooper staying secretive isn’t a surprise but it fuels speculation of Bishop’s situation, and whether or not it affects the goaltender for Game 3. Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports tweeted that Bishop suffered a knee injury. Again, Cooper wasn’t talking about Bishop and neither was anyone else for the Lightning.

Vasilevskiy was in there when the Blackhawks went on their final power play of the night. The Lightning had their most aggressive kill of the night, stifling the Blackhawks on that power play.

Lightning players said they had faith in Vasilevskiy; his last appearance was on May 26, in late-minute duty in Game 6 against the New York Rangers.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

"I didn't say anything to him. He's a pretty confident kid,” Steven Stamkos said. “I think it helped that he's come in relief a couple times this playoffs. He's got a taste of it. This will just add to his confidence. He made some big saves. I don't think anyone really knows what's going on, but he played great tonight and it was nice to finish off the game for him.”

Vasilevskiy stopped all five shots he saw. Did the Blackhawks fire enough on the backup goaltender in those waning minutes?

“I don’t know, regardless of who’s in net, we were trying to find a way to tie that game in the end,” Jonathan Toews said. “But sometimes those ones slip away from you. We just kept giving up goals every time we tied the game or got ourselves backinto it. We just ran out of time.’’

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: