ANAHEIM, Calif. - Ben Bishop has no explanation for his dominance of the Ducks in his career.
And when Bishop made a stunning glove save on a quick re-direction by Rickard Rackell with 33 seconds left, Anaheim star Corey Perry joked the 6-foot-7 Lightning goalie must be breaking the rules.
"He was asking me if my arms are legal," Bishop said with a smile. "One of those reaction things where size comes in handy every now and then."
Bishop came up big for the Lightning in a weird, but much-needed, 2-1 win over the Ducks on Wednesday on "Star Wars Night" at the Honda Center. In doing so, Bishop, who is now 6-0-1 against Anaheim, helped the Lightning (12-11-3) snap a two-game losing streak as it begins a three-game, West Coast trip. Both Tampa Bay and the Ducks (9-12-5) were desperate for wins after falling out of playoff position.
"We had to stop the bleeding," coach Jon Cooper said. "To get two points early should give us a little momentum."
Wing Jonathan Drouin tallied two points, a goal and an assist, in his dazzling return, showing no rust after missing six games with an undisclosed injury. It was the third multi-point game this season for Drouin, who has been sidelined 11 with two different injuries.
"Coming back from injury, sometimes you're a little nervous, you don't know how it's going to go," Drouin said. "But I definitely felt good (Wednesday)."
The Lightning had to overcome two potential go-ahead goals that were waved off in the second period, with Jonathan Marchessault scoring the winner on the power play 1 minute, 28 seconds after Alex Killorn's apparent goal was nullified due to goalie interference on Ryan Callahan (upheld through a challenge).
"I did think it was a little justice that we scored on that power play soon after," Cooper said. "So it probably turned out the way I guess it should have."
Nikita Kucherov's re-direction of a Matt Carle point shot five minutes earlier was waved off due to a high stick. Cooper used his first coach's challenge on Killorn's disallowed goal, but referees ruled Callahan "propelled" Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm into goalie John Gibson, knocking him over and "preventing him from playing his position."
Callahan didn't think he made enough contact with Lindholm, saying "it is what it is." Cooper said once a call is made on the ice, it's a tough threshold to overturn.
"I'm looking at those and wondering what Callahan did wrong?" Cooper said. "Those are 50-50s. We're sitting on our bench saying, 'That's for sure a goal.' And they're sitting on their bench saying, 'That's for sure not a goal.' But if roles were reversed, you'd wonder what they'd say. Fortunately for us, it didn't come back to hurt us."
That's because Drouin perfectly set up Marchessault with a pass into the slot from behind the net. "Right in my wheelhouse," Marchessault said.
Drouin had a sick goal to open the scoring early in the second period, somehow beating Gibson with a shot in a tiny hole between his right pad and blocker. Drouin said he felt better as the game wore on, Cooper noting he looked "fresh."
So did Bishop, who helped the much-maligned penalty kill rebound after two rough games when it allowed five combined goals. Tampa Bay was a perfect 4-for-4 Wednesday, including two in the third period. The power play went 1-for-4, its first goal in four games.
"Special teams, we talked about it after last game how much it hurt us," Callahan said. "And tonight, I think it ends up winning us the game."
"Aside from Ben Bishop," Cooper said. "That was the difference."
Contact Joe Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow@TBTimes_JSmith.