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Canadiens sweep Bishop-less Lightning

Anders Lindback struggled against the Canadiens.
Anders Lindback struggled against the Canadiens.
Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images

Ben Bishop had a .924 save percentage this season. He did not play a single second of postseason action this year. This fact alone may explain why the Tampa Bay Lightning are already out of the playoffs, but to leave it at that would discredit the Montreal Canadiens a bit.

The first series of the 2013-2014 NHL playoffs are over, as the Habs have swept the Lightning. Late in the regular season, Tampa was actually able to jump Montreal in order to get home-ice advantage, but that did not end up helping them. This was, largely, because of Bishop's injury, which left Anders Lindback to shoulder the load in goal.

Lindback has a career SV% of .904, and was at .891 this season. He's a serviceable backup, but you do not want him starting all that often for you, and you don't want to see him play a moment in the playoffs. The talk was Bishop would be able to return in the first round, and perhaps had it lasted longer than four games he would have. Now, we shall never know, and Lindback's .881 SV% in these four games is a major reason why.

Tampa's offense did there best, scoring four goals in one game and three in another. Three of the games were of the one goal variety. The first game went into overtime, and Game 4 almost did, but then Max Pacioretty scored late to give the Canadiens the sweep at home.

So now, Montreal rests and waits for Boston or Detroit, by which I mean Boston. They will definitely get a tougher challenge. The Canadiens are a good team. Carey Price is a very good goalie, and they have some offensive talent. However, facing a Lightning team without Bishop was not necessarily the biggest of obstacles. The next round will be more interesting. As for Tampa, they will hope Bishop can stay healthy next year. If he does, a return to the playoffs, and a deeper run, is definitely possible.