RALEIGH, N.C. — Back-to-back games. Make that back-to-back overtime games. That's a lot to ask for a team that's a bit worn from a rough early season schedule.
Both goalies were on top of their games.
Ben Bishop and Cam Ward matched saves for more than thee periods Sunday at PNC Arena until a wrist shot by Phillip Di Giuseppe at 1:26 of overtime got past Bishop for a 1-0 Carolina victory.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper didn't think the goal should have counted.
"That (matchup) could have gone three games without a goal," Cooper said. "It was going to take something that wasn't the players' fault to happen, and that's what happened."
Carolina wing Viktor Stalberg appeared to have hit Bishop's stick as he passed the goal as the play developed. That forced the stick to go between Bishop's pads, and that left him basically defenseless when trying to stop the puck, shot over his right shoulder by Di Giuseppe from the right boards.
"I don't know what happened," Bishop said. "I was watching the puck."
The goal was reviewed, and the ruling was it was clean.
"It's goalie interference, 100 percent," Cooper said. "The rule is in place so the goalies have the ability to make a save; intention has nothing to do with it. If (Stalberg) had intended to go into 'Bish' like that, it would have been a penalty. … But he didn't intend to do it. It's called incidental contact.
"He kicks the stick between Bishop's legs. The puck was right there. (Bishop) wasn't given a chance to make the save. I'm blown away. … I'm just mystified. I don't get it."
Both teams were on the back end of back-to-back games. Carolina lost Saturday afternoon to the Rangers in New York, and the Lightning snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday night against the visiting Capitals.
The Lightning begins a three-day break today, its longest since the start of the season. It does so with some momentum gathered from taking three of a possible four points over the weekend.
The Lightning appeared to be limping into to the break. November came to a close with losses in five of six games. Instead, a weekend of inspired play and stone-wall goaltending from Bishop, who looked like his old self in playing both games, sends the team home for a few days feeling good about itself.
Cooper, though, believed it deserved a chance to end the weekend with four points.
"It was tough to walk into the locker room and look at the guys after they lose a hockey game over something like that," Cooper said. "It's frustrating."
First Period—None. Penalties—Sustr, TB, (holding), 2:01; Aho, CAR, (tripping), 5:27; Stempniak, CAR, (elbowing), 8:33; Coburn, TB, (delay of game), 11:14.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Killorn, TB, (hooking), 2:53; Nestrasil, CAR, (hooking), 6:42.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Point, TB, (holding), 8:08; Hanifin, CAR, (holding), 11:37; Stalberg, CAR, (high sticking), 13:16.
Overtime—1, Carolina, Di giuseppe 1 (Stalberg, Hainsey), 1:26. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 12-4-13-1—30. Carolina 10-8-10-2—30. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 5; Carolina 0 of 4. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Bishop 8-9-1 (30 shots-29 saves). Carolina, Ward 8-7-4 (30-30). A—11,521 (18,680). T—2:24. Referees—Wes McCauley, Francois St Laurent. Linesmen—Matt MacPherson, Kory Nagy.