DALLAS — Three minutes into the third period of Saturday's game with the Stars, Ben Bishop was on his back and without a stick.
The Lightning goaltender had just been flattened in the crease by Ryan Garbutt, one of numerous times he was jostled, bumped and knocked over. This time, though, Dallas' Alex Goligoski had the puck on his backhand.
Goligoski shot, Bishop somehow made a left pad save and Tampa Bay had a defining moment in a 4-2 victory at the American Airlines Center.
"Simply awesome," Lightning defenseman Sami Salo said. "It's how he's been all year."
Bishop made 39 saves for his 29th win of the season as the Stars, big, fast and skilled, sent waves into the Lightning zone, outshooting it 33-10 after the first period and 41-21 overall.
Marty St. Louis scored twice, giving him 29 goals and four in two games. Salo and Nate Thompson also scored, and Tampa Bay blocked 25 shots, with newly acquired defenseman Mike Kostka getting a team-most five in just 8:42 of ice time.
But the Lightning (34-21-5) would not have had a chance without Bishop, who kept his cool and concentration through physical contact that never drew a penalty.
Bishop has downplayed the physical contact he has endured this season. Still, he acknowledged Saturday "was one of the worst of the year. That's just the way a couple of their guys play."
"I'm a big believer in going hard to the net. But he was getting bumped quite often in the game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "At some point I thought there was going to be a call, but I guess not.
"I don't think it's really hurting him. But it affects you when you get knocked around. 'Bish' is a fighter. He's not one of those guys who is going to lay down and take getting hit. He'll stand in there."
He did on two second-period saves in one second on Jamie Benn and Valeri Nichushkin from in close. Four minutes later, St. Louis, on a breakaway, scored his second goal to make it 3-0 with 5:29 left.
Bishop stopped Vernon Fiddler's sharp redirect in the third period and then Garbutt from the slot. Seventy-three seconds later, Salo's big blast made it 4-2 7:13 into the period.
As for the save on Goligoski, the referees apparently noticed Garbutt's antics and would have waived off any goal.
"I guess it looks good if you save it, but it wouldn't have counted if it went in," Bishop said.
"It's just one of those things when they run into you."
And yet another if you fight through it.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 28 (Brewer, Palat), 1:25. 2, Tampa Bay, Thompson 6 (Hedman, Killorn), 12:09. Penalties—Chiasson, Dal, double minor (high-sticking), 13:22; Hedman, TB (tripping), 16:14; Garbutt, Dal (diving), 16:14.
Second Period—3, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 29 (Palat), 14:31. 4, Dallas, Roussel 10 (Connauton, Fiddler), 15:50. 5, Dallas, Fiddler 4 (Roussel, Garbutt), 18:11. Penalties—Malone, TB (tripping), 19:38.
Third Period—6, Tampa Bay, Salo 2 (Hedman, Killorn), 7:12. Penalties—Tampa Bay bench, served by Purcell (too many men), 9:39; Hedman, TB (interference), 15:14. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 11-7-3—21. Dallas 8-18-15—41. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 2; Dallas 0 of 3. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Bishop 29-9-4 (41 shots-39 saves). Dallas, Lehtonen 23-16-10 (21-17). A—15,897 (18,532).