To the 22,336 fans at the United Center, Ben Bishop looked uncomfortable. At times, he looked to be more of a liability rather than an asset.
But his performance said otherwise, and you won't hear a peep from the Tampa Bay Lightning on what exactly appears to be bothering Bishop.
"It's gonna take a lot not to play in a Stanley Cup Final game, personally," Bishop said following a 36-save win over the Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.
Bishop, who was removed from Game 2 twice in the third period, participated in Monday morning's skate, but his status for Game 3 remained uncertain. Until Lightning coach Jon Cooper had a long conversation with his starting goaltender when the team arrived at the rink hours later.
"There wasn't any doubt in his eyes," Cooper said of Bishop. "You can read when guys are sitting there saying, 'Coach, I'll go for you.' Or you can say, 'Give me the net.' That kid said, 'Give me the net.'"
So he did. But it was evident Bishop wasn't 100 percent.
After making an initial save early in the first period, Bishop, who veered to the left of his crease, attempted to regain his net by quickly sliding from left to right. But it seemed to aggravate — or re-aggravate — his mysterious injury the Lightning are mum on discussing.
And it didn't get any better.
When pucks cleared the defensive zone, Bishop used that as an opportunity to hunch over and regather himself. He took as much time as he could after making saves from the butterfly position, but Cooper told NBC Sports Network's Pierre McGuire during an in-game interview that "it takes him a little bit longer to get up than most guys" because of Bishop's size.
Cooper admitted after the game that at no point did he ever think about yanking Bishop, who improved to 8-3 on the road this postseason.
"If he was going to be in harm's way, we would have pulled him out," Cooper assured.
"I felt the same pretty much the whole game," Bishop insisted.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos knows the speculation will circulate throughout the Stanley Cup Final, but said Bishop "didn't look hurt out there to me."
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One thing's for sure, though: Injured or not, Bishop has played just as big as his 6-foot-7 frame and it's one of the main reasons the Lightning have taken a 2-1 series lead, recapturing home-ice advantage.
“That’s what great goalies do,” Stamkos said. "That’s what great players do. They rise to the occasion. He did that. We didn’t have our best. We needed him. And obviously guys are very happy for him the way he performed tonight.
“He gave us a chance to respond after the first. That’s all you can ask of a goaltender at this time of year.”