In the end, it was Ben Bishop in between the pipes for the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday night. And Bishop was more than good enough, steering aside 36 of 38 shots as the Lightning (+155 away) beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Tampa Bay now has a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, with Game 3 coming up on Wednesday (8:00 PM ET, NBCSN) at the United Center.
Bishop didn’t appear to be at 100% on Monday after suffering an undisclosed injury in Game 2. However, last year’s Vezina Trophy finalist was outstanding during the first period, allowing just one goal on 19 Chicago attempts – and that was on the power play. Bishop’s work helped the under cash in at -135 on the posted total of 5.5 goals; expect to see him in the net again on Wednesday.
The victory also pushes Tampa Bay into second place on the NHL money list at +5.32 betting units against the puck line. Chicago is now barely breaking even at +0.21 units; the Hawks have yet to beat the Lightning by two goals in this series, and they’ll be laying 1.5 goals at home again when the two teams reconvene Wednesday night.
PICK: After Chicago took game 1 in Tampa, it appeared as if they might take this series easily, but if you remember game 1, the Lightning pretty much dominated until near the end. I think Tampa has a slightly better team in this series and all the pressure is on the Blackhawks now as they must win this game. I’m going with momentum and the Lightning.