BUFFALO, N.Y. — Coach Jon Cooper said you never turn your back on a three-game winning streak.
But Cooper pointed out that Thursday's 4-1 Lightning victory over the Sabres may not have happened had it not been for the stellar play of G Ben Bishop. Bishop made 32 saves to move to 9-0-1 all time against Buffalo.
"It was a Ben Bishop show all the way," Cooper said. "He must have made six 10-bell saves in the first few minutes of the game."
Bishop's toughest save came because of mistake he made. In the second period, his pass from behind the net went right to Sabres F Kyle Okposo in the slot. But Bishop scrambled, quickly diving out in front of the net to stop the scoring chance.
"I was like, 'Oh no!' " Bishop said. "Good save, but bad turnover."
BACK ON BOARD: LW Alex Killorn snapped out of his scoring slump in a big way.
Killorn picked up a goal and an assist, scoring the go-ahead power-play goal in the second period. For Killorn, it was his first goal in 11 games, and his first points in seven. His only other multipoint game was the season opener. It had to be a confidence-builder for Killorn, who had struggled since scoring six goals in his first seven games.
"You always start to grip your stick a little bit after a few games," Killorn said. "I didn't know how many it was. You realize it's going to happen at some point."
DROUIN BACK: The Lightning (11-6-1) received a boost with the return of wing Jonathan Drouin, who had missed seven games with an upper-body injury. Drouin is expected to help soften the blow of C Steven Stamkos' injury, the captain out approximately four months after Thursday's surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
"That's one big plus for us, timing-wise, is Drouin is coming back," coach Jon Cooper said. "As much pain as we're feeling, that eases it a little bit."
Drouin made an immediate impact, helping set up the Lightning's first goal. P
LINING UP: C Vladislav Namestnikov centered LW Ondrej Palat and RW Nikita Kucherov. C Tyler Johnson was between Killorn and Brayden Point. The fourth line, which has been a catalyst as of late, remained the same with Brian Boyle-Cedric Paquette-J.T. Brown.
NUTS AND BOLTS: Paquette left in the third period with an upper-body injury and did not return. "I think he's going to be okay," Cooper said. … With two assists, Filppula reached 400 career points. … D Luke Witkowski was a healthy scratch. … D Anton Stralman, who missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury, skated on his own after the morning workout. Cooper said there was no update and "it's tough to see if he's going to play on this trip." … The annual Fathers Trip is this weekend in Philadelphia and Nashville.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Nesterov 2 (Filppula, Drouin), 8:15. Penalties—Koekkoek, TB, (holding stick), 10:18; Sustr, TB, (interference), 13:44; Grant, BUF, (hooking), 17:05.
Second Period—2, Tampa Bay, Killorn 7 (Filppula, Point), 7:39 (pp). 3, Buffalo, Franson 1 (Fedun, Kane), 12:50 (pp). 4, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 9 (Killorn), 19:42. Penalties—Okposo, BUF, (holding), 6:05; Point, TB, (hooking), 11:00; Hedman, TB, (roughing), 11:00; Larsson, BUF, (roughing), 11:00.
Third Period—5, Tampa Bay, Point 2 (Johnson), 18:00 (pp). Penalties—Sustr, TB, (tripping), 2:55; Garrison, TB, (high sticking), 7:46; Franson, BUF, (delay of game), 16:59. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 11-16-11—38. Buffalo 15-10-8—33. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 2 of 3; Buffalo 1 of 5. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Bishop 7-5-0 (33 shots-32 saves). Buffalo, Lehner 4-7-2 (38-34).