MONTREAL — Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop watched Tuesday night as Montreal's Carey Price played one heck of a game and admitted he wanted to keep up.
"Yeah," Bishop said, "whenever you see somebody like that saving their team, you think you've got to be the one to do it for your team."
Bishop did it with 28 saves and three more in a shootout in a 2-1 victory at the Bell Centre.
It was an important win for Tampa Bay in its first game without injured star Steven Stamkos.
"A character win," captain Marty St. Louis said.
And perhaps the hardest-working win of the season as the Lightning — 13-5-0 and on top of the Eastern Conference — had a season-best 45 shots.
Teddy Purcell had six, Victor Hedman five. The only Lightning player without a shot was defenseman Matt Carle, but he blocked four by Montreal.
Tampa Bay also maintained the disciplined and structured five-man defense it has played all season and will be even more critical without the league's top goal scorer.
"This was a big step in overcoming what we know is going to be a challenge for us," coach Jon Cooper said, "and a big step in understanding that we can overcome it."
It wasn't easy.
Ryan Malone's first-period goal — he tipped in Eric Brewer's point shot while down on the ice — made it 1-0. But Radko Gudas' second-period goal that would have made it 2-0 was disallowed because Tyler Johnson interfered with Price.
And after Daniel Briere tied the score with 4:38 left in the third on a fluky goal in which the puck deflected off his body, the Lightning had 3:06 of power-play time, including 15 seconds of five-on-three, at the end of the third period and into overtime on which it could not score.
Much of that was due to Price. Still, Price couldn't stop Valtteri Filppula, the only successful shootout scorer. Price angrily shot the puck down the ice into the Lightning net.
Heat of the moment, Bishop said: "I probably should have shot it back. It's one of those things where I guess I got mad there for a second. I'm sure he didn't do it on purpose."
Bishop got his revenge with his league-best 12th win that featured fine positioning and few rebounds.
"You have to give our guy some credit," Cooper said. "(Montreal) might not have had the number of shots we had but they had some really good ones."
"It's a tough loss whenever you lose a player like that," Bishop said of Stamkos. "But it's a team sport, and we're going to move forward. We hung in there till the end."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8622. View his blog at lightning.tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @LightningTimes.
|Lightning wins shootout 1-0|
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Malone 3 (Brewer, Crombeen), 5:00. Penalties—Palat, TB (holding), 5:53; Johnson, TB (hooking), 12:40; Barberio, TB (tripping), 18:01.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Montreal bench, served by Bourque (too many men), 8:54.
Third Period—2, Montreal, Briere 2 (Pacioretty), 15:22. Penalties—Bourque, Mon (high-sticking), 16:27; Eller, Mon (face-off violation), 18:54.
Overtime—None. Penalties—Markov, Mon (delay of game), :40.
Shootout—Tampa Bay 1 (Filppula G, Purcell NG), Montreal 0 (Galchenyuk NG, Briere NG, Gallagher NG). Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 10-13-16-6—45. Montreal 8-5-13-3—29. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 4; Montreal 0 of 3. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Bishop 12-2-0 (29 shots-28 saves). Montreal, Price 7-7-2 (45-44). A—21,273 (21,273). T—2:51. Referees—Greg Kimmerly, Mike Leggo. Linesmen—Steve Miller, Vaughan Rody.