March 25, 2019
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Former UMaine goalie riding 3-game NHL shutout streak

L.M. Otero | AP
L.M. Otero | AP
Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop (30) defends the goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers in Dallas, March 5, 2019.

Ben Bishop said he can’t recall ever posting back-to-back shutouts.

But his 35-save, 2-0 victory over Buffalo on Tuesday gave the Dallas Stars goaltender his third consecutive shutout and extended his scoreless streak to 204 minutes and 20 seconds.

Eddie Belfour is the only goalie in franchise history with a longer scoreless streak — 219 minutes and 26 seconds.

Bishop, a former University of Maine goalie, will try to surpass that on Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild.

“I don’t think too much of it, to be honest,” the 32-year-old Bishop said. “I’m just trying to get wins right now. We’re want to get into the playoffs. It’s crunch time, and we don’t have a lot of [games] left. I don’t care if we win 10-9 or 1-0. Winning is all that matters.”

The Stars, coached by former UMaine All-American center Jim Montgomery, are in fourth place in the Western Conference’s Central Division with 13 games remaining and are in position to earn a wildcard spot.

The 6-foot-7, 215-pound Bishop said there has been some good fortune during his streak and his teammates have been stellar in front of him.

“I’ve been playing well, but you also have to have a good team in front of you. There have been some blocked shots in front of empty nets and [opponents] have hit posts. You need a little bit of puck luck,” Bishop said.

Bishop has a 23-14-2 record and owns the league’s best save percentage at 0.932 and the second-best goals-against average (2.08). He is tied for second in the league with six shutouts, including four in his last nine starts.

Bishop said he switched to Bauer goaltending equipment from CCM this season and it has made a difference.

“I feel a little quicker and lighter now,” Bishop said. “And this is the freshest I’ve felt [at this time of the season].”

Having Anton Khudobin as a reliable backup has been beneficial. Khudobin has started 30 games to Bishop’s 39. The former Bruins backup has a 2.57 goals-against average and a 0.924 save percentage to go with a 13-14-3 record.

“He has been unbelievable all year. He’s a big reason we’ve been successful,” Bishop said. “We’ve both played well. It’s fun playing with him. We have a healthy competition and relationship.”

Bishop, who has a career record of 197-111-32 with a 2.31 goals-against average and a 0.920 save percentage in 363 games, said he feels he is continuing to improve.

“I feel I’ve gotten better year in and year out. I’m more experienced and I’ve been reading the game better,” said Bishop, who is sporting a 23-14-2 record.

Bishop also said fatherhood is agreeing with him. He and wife Andrea’s first child, Benjamin Bishop IV, turns 1 on May 29.

“He’s a happy baby. He makes mom and dad very happy,” Bishop said. “It has been a lot of fun. There’s more responsibility but it’s a good way to get your mind off hockey.”

 



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