Stars welcome the playoffs back to Texas
Sometime this morning when you are “hard at work,” Google search the goal allowed by Ben Bishop early in the second period on Monday night. Be sure to include the keywords, “Ben Bishop. Stanley Cup Playoffs. Worst goal ever allowed.”
The Stanley Cup playoffs are back in Texas for the first time since 2016, and on Monday night it was fun to see hockey relevant again in the spring. It was also painful to watch just what a cruel, mean and nasty mother Stanley Cup can be.
“That was a fun night to be a part off. Our players played a hell of a game,” Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. “Our players gotta pick (Bishop) up.”
The Stars’ best player during the regular season was Bishop, so it’s only logical he was their worst player in Game 3, a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators.
It’s as if Kari Lehtonen never left.
The Stars now trail their first round series to the Preds’, 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday night.
Two of the three goals Bishop allowed on Monday would have reminded Dallas Stars fans of the days of Lehtonen. Or the days of a cough-syrup infused Ed Belfour.
The Stars are built and designed to play a playoff-style game, which only works if their goalie is a playoff-worthy goalie. Bishop is. On Monday, Bishop was worthy of a playoff series in the Northwest Texas minor leagues.
The Stars piled up several quality chances in the first period, but early in the second Nashville’s Rocco Grimaldi tossed a shot towards Bishop from the half wall. The puck had neither a prayer, or hope, of possibly going by Bishop, who had no one in front of him to possibly screen his vision.
The puck went in.
The tissues that you used to wipe away your tears after watching Tiger Woods heroically comeback from his series of self-inflicted errors to win the Masters? That’s how soft Bishop’s goal was he allowed to Grimaldi.
“It’s just a bad goal. It’s not one you want to let in,” Bishop said. “It’s not the first bad goal I’ve given up in the playoffs. Probably won’t be the last.”
He is correct. He just didn’t know it was going to be in the same game.
The second goal he allowed when Nashville’s Filip Forsberg beat Stars defenseman Roman Polak around and to the net, was not on Bishop. Forsberg made a wonderful play, and Polak was skating in mud.
The third goal, however, was a dog.
After falling behind 2-0, the Stars rallied to tie the game on a beautiful setup from Jamie Benn to Tyler Seguin in the third period.
A rational Stars observer would think their team had this one. Although they had blown a 90-second 5-on-3 chance in the second period, they were the better team throughout the evening.
Nashville’s goalie, Pekka Rinne, didn’t stand on his head but he out-played the other guy.
A few minutes after Seguin tied it, Nashville’s Mikael Granlund flicked a shot that had no chance, and while it did go by a screen, the puck must be stopped by Bishop.
Replays show that maybe the puck was accidentally deflected by Stars defensman Miro Heiskanen. Maybe.
Either way, Bishop allowed three goals on 28 shots.
The Stars had 42 shots and scored twice.
You do the math.
In the playoff’s return to Texas for the first time since 2016, the Stars were the better team. They should have won, but their goalie is a reminder of what a cruel mother Stanley Cup can be.