The Dallas Stars got some big news midway through Game 5 on Saturday when goaltender Ben Bishop was named as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. It’s an earned and well-deserved nomination for the Dallas starter.
Ben Bishop had another stellar showing between the pipes for the Dallas Stars in their Game 5 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon. He stopped 30-33 and helped push the Stars into the driver’s seat in the series with a 3-2 lead.
And as first intermission wound down, some breaking news about the Dallas starter was released when Bishop was named a finalist for the 2018-19 Vezina Trophy.
“I was told yesterday,” Bishop said about being named a finalist. “It’s a great honor and as much as it is an individual award, it’s a team thing. The guys have done a great job in front of me all season. It’s an honor, but it’s a great team recognition.”
The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually to “the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position.” Some recent winners of the award include Carey Price, Braden Holtby, and Sergei Bobrovsky as well as Pekka Rinne, who Bishop is currently dueling in the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
And though it isn’t necessarily a surprise for Stars fans or people that have followed the team considering his performance during the 2018-19 campaign, he’s now an official candidate and has his name on the ballot.
“It’s nice,” said the goaltender following the Stars’ victory in Game 5. “Anytime you can get nominated for the Vezina, it’s a great honor. There’s a lot of work behind the scenes that goes into it. It’s kind of neat to have it be done now with two different teams. The first year was obviously about getting to know each other. But this year, the defense and myself and even the forwards, there’s great chemistry and we just keep it going.”
“Bish has had a tremendous season,” added Stars coach Jim Montgomery. “I think I’m a little biased, but [it’s] rightfully so that he should be a Vezina finalist. Hopefully he gets some hardware in Vegas whenever the date is.”
The 32-year-old goaltender put together a career year and served as a primary backbone for the Dallas Stars during the 2018-19 campaign. In 46 games played, he posted a record of 27-15-2 and backstopped the Stars to 56 of their 93 points.
And while his record was impressive, it was the individual statistics that really helped him stand out among the rest of the NHL’s goaltenders. Bishop finished the season with a .934 save percentage and 1.98 goals against average. Both numbers are career-highs for the goalie and also ended up being the lowest marks for any goalie with at least 35 games played in the 2018-19 season. They are also the lowest numbers of any goalie in the past few years with at least 35 games played.
In addition, he posted seven shutouts on the season, finishing third in the NHL in that statistic.
Bishop also cracked the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week list on two separate occasions this season. He was named the Third Star of the Week for his performance in the opening week of the 2018-19 regular season schedule and was also awarded the Second Star of the Week in mid-March.
To top it all off, Bishop made Dallas Stars franchise history in March when he set the new franchise shutout streak at 233:04, breaking the former record of 219:34 set by Ed Belfour back in 2000. Bishop set the streak from March 2 – 19, posting shutouts against New York, Colorado, Buffalo, and a partial shutout against Minnesota on his way to the record.
Alongside Anton Khudobin, the Stars’ goaltending duo posted some of the best numbers in the league. They were in a tight race for the Jennings Trophy, which is awarded to the goaltender(s) that allow the fewest goals against in the regular season, until the final two days of the regular season. They fed off of each other throughout the regular season and played a large part in getting the Dallas Stars to the postseason.
“Bishop is, if not the highest reason, the top two reasons of why we’re in this position right now,” Tyler Seguin said following Game 3. “He’s been our backbone all year. He’s our best player and we have a lot of confidence in him.”
This is the third time in Bishop’s career that he has been a finalist for the Vezina. He finished in third place in voting back in 2013-14 and secured second place in 2015-16, both of which came with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“It’s huge. You can’t say it’s really a surprise. We all know how good Bish is and that’s a great nomination to get. It’s well-deserved. He’s put in a lot of hard work and he’s been through a little adversity this year. It just goes to show the professional and competitor that he is. He comes to work every day and grinds. It starts in practice and obviously translates to the game. It’s definitely a great honor for him.” – Jamie Benn on Bishop’s nomination
And now, he’ll get an opportunity to go for it one more time. The 31 NHL general managers cast their votes just before the playoffs began, so a winner has already been determined. The top three vote-getters end up being announced as the finalists. Those three finalists are Bishop, Robin Lehner (New York Islanders), and Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning).
Regardless of who wins, though, it was an incredible 2018-19 season for Bishop that won’t soon be forgotten by Stars fans or by the record books.