TAMPA — The chant began late in the second period.
At first partially drowned out by cheers, it was soon clear the Tampa Bay Times Forum crowd of 18,695 was yelling Ben Bishop's name.
"Yeah, I heard it," the Lightning goaltender said. "It's always nice when you hear that."
He deserved it, too, making 38 saves Thursday night in a 4-2 victory over the Oilers in which Tampa Bay was thoroughly outplayed.
As center Steven Stamkos said, "He's the only reason we won that game. I think everyone knows that. If not, they probably weren't watching the same game."
Edmonton, last in the Western Conference but skilled and fast, had a 40-26 shot advantage. The Lightning (11-4-0) was sloppy, with nine giveaways and 20 turnovers. It was lazy in the defensive zone and continually failed to get the puck deep in the offensive zone.
Yet, it won its third straight and sixth in its past seven games to stay atop the Atlantic Division and get a boost into a stretch of seven of eight games on the road.
Stamkos' two unassisted first-period goals gave him 13, tied for second in the league.
Tyler Johnson's goal with 1:27 left in the second period made it 3-1 and was the winner, and Valtteri Filppula had an empty-netter. Defensemen Radko Gudas and Matt Carle were plus-4.
But without Bishop — who stopped three breakaways and made a lunging glove save to rob Boyd Gordon with 3:09 left in the third period to preserve a 3-2 lead — the outcome would have been different.
"Absolutely outstanding," defenseman Mark Barberio said. "He stole that game for us."
"I don't think we've given up scoring chances like that in our last six games combined, and that's what's really disappointing," coach Jon Cooper said. "You turn pucks over the way we did, you're adding fuel to the fire … and you need a Herculean effort from Bishop to save the game for us.
"He was the best player on the ice for both teams, hands down."
Bishop is on quite a role. His 10 wins are tied for the league lead. His 2.14 goals-against average and .928 save percentage are top 10.
His right-arm save of Taylor Hall's breakaway wrist shot with 3:31 left in the second period preserved a 2-1 lead.
"I wasn't really expecting him to shoot that fast," Bishop said. "I thought he had some time to do something. He shot. I just reacted to it."
Nine seconds later, Bishop stopped Ales Hemsky's wrister. Five seconds after that it was Sam Gagner's tip-in try. That's when the crowd chanted Bishop's name.
"Awesome," Bishop said.
Against the Oilers, so was he.
First Period—1, TB, Stamkos 12, 7:37. 2, Edm, Fedun 2 (Eberle, Hemsky), 10:11. 3, TB, Stamkos 13, 19:07. Penalties—Palat, TB (holding), :58; Smyth, Edm (goaltender interference), 3:00.
Second Period—4, TB, Johnson 4 (Panik, Gudas), 18:33. Penalties—Larsen, Edm (delay of game), 1:16; Ference, Edm (roughing), 11:09; Gudas, TB (tripping), 11:09.
Third Period—5, Edm, Hall 4 (Eberle), 10:22 (pp). 6, TB, Filppula 6, 18:55 (en). Penalties—Salo, TB (tripping), 9:36. Shots on Goal—Edm 12-16-12—40. TB 10-9-7—26. Power-play opportunities—Edm 1 of 2; TB 0 of 2. Goalies—Edm, Dubnyk 3-6-1 (25 shots-22 saves). TB, Bishop 10-2-0 (40-38). A—18,695 (19,204).