Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning tops Wild

TAMPA — There was a stretch of six seconds during the second period of Thursday night's game in which Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop made four saves.

Less than a minute later, in a stretch of 26 seconds, he made three.

That's seven saves in 32 seconds. These weren't casual stops, either, as Bishop used just about every pad to survive.

"You try to see the puck, find it and get whatever you can in front of it," Bishop said. "Sometimes you get a little lucky."

Luck or skill, Tampa Bay will take it after its 3-1 victory over the Wild at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

It was the fifth win in six games for the Lightning (5-2-0), which got goals from Tyler Johnson on the power play, Steven Stamkos and Sami Salo into an empty net.

But it was Bishop outdueling Josh Harding and his league-best 0.94 goals-against average to go 5-0-0 with 25 saves who was the story, even bigger than captain Marty St. Louis playing despite a right foot injury.

That's because Tampa Bay, it seems, has found a No. 1 goalie.

The plan entering the season was for Bishop and Anders Lindback to share duties. But Bishop's hot streak makes him an easy choice. "He has a lot of confidence right now," Stamkos said. "We have to try to ride him out."

Especially if he can make saves like he did in the second period to preserve a 1-0 lead.

In the six-second scramble, he stopped Marco Scandella twice, Jared Spurgeon and Mikko Koivu. In the 26-second scramble it was Jason Pominville, Dany Heatley and Mikael Granlund, all from fewer than 20 feet.

"There were a couple of shifts where they had us pinned in and he was there for us," coach Jon Cooper said. "We needed him for that stretch. That got us the lead going into the third."

The Lightning had a 13-2 shot advantage in the third period and 30-26 in the game. But Koivu tied the score 1-1 with 8:55 left after Valtteri Filppula's offensive-zone giveaway.

Stamkos responded with 5:04 left with his team-best fifth goal, a high wrist shot at the end of a breakaway sparked by Matt Carle's perfect bank-shot pass off the side boards.

"A big-time play," Cooper said.

That mattered because of Bishop's big-time goaltending.

"There was a point there they could have had three or four goals," defenseman Carle said. "It's good to see him going like that."

"It's not just me. It's the guys in front of me," Bishop said. "Not too many screens. Guys are doing a great job of clearing guys in front so I can see most of the pucks."

He's stopping them, too.

 

Lightning 1 0 2 3
Wild 0 0 1 1
Lightning 1 0 2 3
Wild 0 0 1 1

 

First Period1, TB, Johnson 2 (Filppula, Panik), 14:02 (pp). PenaltiesPominville, Min (tripping), 12:19; Scandella, Min (interference), 19:06.

Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesSpurgeon, Min (boarding), 1:59; Connolly, TB (high-sticking), 5:22; Stamkos, TB (holding stick), 10:39; Spurgeon, Min (interference), 11:06.

Third Period2, Minn, Koivu 1 (Niederreiter, Suter), 11:05. 3, TB, Stamkos 5 (Carle, Gudas), 14:56. 4, TB, Salo 1, 19:42 (en). PenaltiesNiederreiter, Min (hooking), 6:06; Cooke, Min, double minor (high-sticking), 12:41; Killorn, TB (tripping), 13:57; Konopka, Min (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00; Crombeen, TB (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00. Shots on GoalMinn 11-13-2—26. TB 10-7-13—30. Power-play opportunitiesMinn 0 of 2; TB 1 of 7. GoaliesMinn, Harding 3-2-0 (29 shots-27 saves). TB, Bishop 5-0-0 (26-25). A16,454 (19,204).

 
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