Ben Bishop had a really good week for the Dallas Stars in the crease, and the NHL took notice. As a result, he was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week for March 11.
The Dallas Stars had a pretty good week on the ice. Their offense popped off six goals (including four against the Colorado Avalanche in a pivotal game), their defense played with composure and structure, and they won two of three contests on a homestand to further solidify their spot in the postseason chase.
But amongst all of those strengths, there was a particularly dominant one: Ben Bishop.
The 32-year-old goaltender was at the peak of his game, starting in two of the three contests for the Stars.
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After wrapping up a four-game road trip on a successful note (due in part to the heroics of Bishop, who helped the Stars cap it off with a pivotal win in St. Louis) with a 3-1-0 record, Dallas trekked back home for a three-game homestand. They faced a handful of desperate teams, starting with the New York Rangers and finishing with the Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks.
And when they needed Bishop to be at his best, he was. The goaltender started the week off against the Rangers, a high-flying offensive team in search of an upset. Bishop ended the night with a 28-save shutout. He made some dazzling stops and kept the Dallas Stars in a tight and low-scoring showdown as they won in a 1-0 final.
As Thursday night approached, Bishop once again got the nod and took the crease in a critical game against the Colorado Avalanche. With valuable points on the line that could greatly affect the Central division standings, the Stars put on one of their most complete performances of the year, shutting down the Avalanche in a 4-0 routing. And while Alexander Radulov was deemed the hero with his first career NHL hat trick, Bishop was just as good.
He stopped all 31 shots faced for his second consecutive shutout, marking the first time that a Stars goaltender posted consecutive shutouts since Kari Lehtonen in 2012. It was also the first time in Bishop’s career that he posted two shutouts in a row.
That’s already an important asset for a team stuck in the middle of a tightly-contested Western Conference wild card race. But for the Stars and Bishop, it means just about everything at this point in the season.
The NHL also took notice of his career achievement and the aid that he provided his team over the past week.
When the league announced its Three Stars of the Week on Monday morning, Bishop was given the Second Star award. Jonathan Huberdeau was awarded the First Star after scoring four goals and tallying nine points in four games last week, while Troy Terry was given Third Star honors for his two-goal, seven-point performance in four games.
There’s not much else you can say. With a 1.00 save percentage and 0.00 goals against average through starts in two critical games during the final month of the regular season, there’s a need for recognition. But for Bishop, it’s all about winning games and getting back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This is Bishop’s second time to receive “Three Stars of the Week” honors in a Dallas Stars uniform, with the first time being after the first week of the season. In that stretch, Bishop was 2-0-0 to help the Stars start out their 2018-19 campaign, posting a .984 save percentage while earning a shutout against the Coyotes and only allowing one goal to the Winnipeg Jets.
“You kind of get a renewed passion for the game. You kind of forget about it when you’re doing it day in and day out and when it’s kind of taken away from you for a couple weeks there, you realize how much you miss it and how fun it is competing with the guys. When you can’t do it, you kind of get that renewed passion.” – Bishop after missing 18 days in February with an injury
On the year, Bishop is 22-14-2 with a .930 save percentage and 2.13 goals against average. That’s the highest save percentage of his 10-year NHL career and the second-lowest GAA of his career. He currently owns the second-highest save percentage in the NHL (behind only Andrei Vasilevskiy, who owns a .931) and has the lowest goals against average among goaltenders who have played in at least 23 games. He’s also tied for third in shutouts with five on the season.
Thanks to the efforts of Bishop and Anton Khudobin, the Dallas Stars are holding steady in the Western Conference playoff race. Dallas currently sits in the first wild card spot with a record of 35-28-5 and 75 points. They are two points from the playoff wall and four points away from third in the Central division.
The race is only getting tighter as the final 14 games approach, and the Stars will need every bit of strength they can muster to stay in the running. With St. Louis, Minnesota, Arizona, and Colorado all lurking close by, there’s no room for error.
But if they can continue receiving the caliber of goaltending that they have been from Bishop and Khudobin, they just might have a shot.
Bishop is the Second Star of the Week in one of the most important weeks of the regular season. And for the Dallas Stars, that’s great news.