-- PITTSBURGH -- When Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop led his team to a series victory over the New York Islanders in Game 5 on Sunday, it marked the fourth time he has pitched a shutout in an elimination game. Only Chris Osgood has more shutouts in clinching circumstances -- five -- in NHL history. In just his second season as a playoff starter, Bishop has amassed a 21-13 record with a .926 save percentage.
I had a chance to chat with the 29-year-old who has won four in a row heading into Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, which commence on Friday at 8 p.m. ET against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
ESPN.com: Do you remember your first set of goalie pads?
Bishop: Yeah, I do remember my first pair of pads. It was when I was a little kid in kindergarten and they were like the brown Coopers. They were just straight down with the horseshoe toe; it went underneath and I think back then I didn't even lace them up, I just lay on the ground and the coach would come over and lace them up for me. That was my first pair of pads, and I have a couple of pictures with it too. It's pretty funny. The pads have come a long way.
ESPN.com: Did your parents need to give you the OK on the whole goalie thing? Did you want to be a goalie right from the beginning?
Bishop: No, I started out as a forward. I was a forward for the first few years, and everybody took a turn playing goalie, and it was my turn to play and I played. I was pretty good at it and I enjoyed it. I guess I liked to play the whole game, I didn't like coming off. I just kind of stuck with it. I don't think my parents, looking back at it, probably had any idea it was going to go this far. If so, they might have thought differently. Back then, you're just enjoying the game and the parents are having fun with it and we were just having fun with it. Once we got a little bit older and they saw how much the gear costs, maybe a second thought, but no, they were supportive the whole way.
ESPN.com: How much do you embrace the routine of being a goaltender?
Bishop: With [Tampa Bay goalie coach] Frantz [Jean], the way we work, we don't do too much before and after practice. You play so many games, and you have practices every day -- you see some of these guys do goalie drills before and after practice every single day, and I definitely think that can creep into your game where you're like, 'No, not this again.' Frantz and I do a pretty good job of when we need to work on something: We'll work on it, but if there's nothing to be worked on, just let it be and you get that time off.
ESPN.com: A season ago, you were asked those questions about whether or not you could be a playoff goaltender. Do you miss those questions?
Bishop: No. [Laughs] Obviously you're going to ask that of anybody the first time. You want to figure it out, and as far as last year, you learn a lot of stuff; and going into this year, you just try to keep it the same way. The biggest thing I learned was, don't hype the game bigger than it already is. Just go out there and treat it like any other game. You prepare the same way for a preseason game, regular-season game or a Stanley Cup final game; and that's the big thing to where you don't change things the bigger the magnitude. You keep it the same.
ESPN.com: When you look at what Penguins goalie Matt Murray has accomplished at age 21, what do you think?
Bishop: I don't know him personally. Obviously watching him, he's done a terrific job. That's not an easy task going up against the Washington Capitals with the firepower they have and the way he played, I think watching him, he does a pretty good job of keeping it simple. He doesn't get too wild out there, stays pretty calm, and I think that's why he's been successful.