TAMPA — You figured Wednesday's game would be tight and low scoring.
The Lightning won plenty of those en route to the Stanley Cup final over the summer. And lately, offensively-challenged Tampa Bay had no choice. After two periods without a goal, coach Jon Cooper said the message was simple:
"This is a playoff game," he said.
But the way goalie Ben Bishop played, it sure looked like it, the Lightning finally prevailing in a shootout, a 2-1 win over the Kings in front of 19,092 at Amalie Arena.
It was the third straight win for the Lightning (11-9-3), with Bishop giving up two combined goals in that stretch, including 37 saves Wednesday.
"Bish has been bailing us out when we've needed him," Cooper said. "He made some big-time saves."
Bishop made sure the Lightning didn't lose in overtime, his savvy poke check thwarting a breakaway by Kings star Anze Kopitar.
"Just got a piece of it," Bishop said.
With the Lightning's shootout struggles — 0-for-6 in two losses this season — Cooper sent out a wild card for the first attempt, Jonathan Marchessault. Marchessault, who has been impressive in his most recent callup, confidently beat Jonathan Quick with a wrist shot glove side. Marchessault figured Quick didn't know much about him, and used a move he's tried successfully in the AHL.
"I've got to score," Marchessault said.
After a couple of shootout saves by Bishop, Valtteri Filppula sealed it with his goal, his second game winner in the past three games.
Despite being outshot 26-17 in the second and third period by a Kings team on the fifth and final game of a 10-day trip, Tampa Bay found a way.
"That wasn't our best game, but that's what good teams do," Bishop said. "They find a way to win when they don't play their best."
The Lightning appeared headed for a win in regulation, but gave up the tying goal with just over five minutes left in the third, a Milan Lucic wrist shot from the left circle trickling through a screened Bishop.
"Pretty lucky shot, to be honest," Cooper said.
Tyler Johnson, in his much-anticipated return from an upper-body injury, had given Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead six minutes into the third, showing glimpses of reverting to his All-Star form from a year ago.
On the goal, Johnson made a shot fake in the left circle, confidently skating around defenseman Alec Martinez and ripped a wrist shot from the slot past Quick.
But, much like Tampa Bay's galvanizing 2-1 win over the Rangers on Thursday, it didn't let a potentially deflating tying goal late in the game get to it. Cooper said the key was the Lightning playing with the lead, giving it some margin for error.
"Fortunately we're at least getting two (goals)," Cooper said. "Seems like not too long ago we weren't getting any."
|Lightning wins shootout 2-1|
|Lightning wins shootout 2-1|
First Period—None. Penalties—Muzzin, LA (delay of game), 4:47; Gaborik, LA (tripping), 12:26.
Second Period—None. Penalties—McNabb, LA (delay of game), 6:05.
Third Period—1, Tampa Bay, Johnson 4 (Marchessault), 5:57. 2, Los Angeles, Lucic 7 (Toffoli, Carter), 14:37. Penalties—None.
Shootout—Los Angeles 1 (Carter NG, Kopitar G, Toffoli NG), Tampa Bay 2 (Marchessault G, Kucherov NG, Filppula G). Shots on Goal—Los Angeles 8-13-13-4—38. Tampa Bay 11-8-9-2—30. Power-play opportunities—Los Angeles 0 of 0; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. Goalies—Los Angeles, Quick 10-7-1 (30 shots-29 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 9-7-2 (38-37). A—19,092 (19,204). T—2:46. Referees—Rob Martell, Mike Leggo. Linesmen—Darren Gibbs, Derek Nansen.
DIRK SHADD | Times
Lightning coach Jon Cooper watches as Tampa Bay beats the Kings 2-1 in a shootout at Amalie Arena Wednesday. Ben Bishop makes 37 saves for the Lightning through overtime before Valtteri Filppula scores the winner in the shootout, his second winner of the season.