Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning cruises past Oilers for fifth win in seven games

Nikita Kucherov, left, and Ondrej Palat embrace after Palat’s goal gives the Lightning a 1-0 lead.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Nikita Kucherov, left, and Ondrej Palat embrace after Palat’s goal gives the Lightning a 1-0 lead.

TAMPA — Ben Bishop may be the Lightning's biggest decision at next week's trade deadline.

You have the best goalie in franchise history playing his best hockey of the season. Bishop, 30, has won five straight starts, including Tuesday's 4-1 victory over the Oilers at Amalie Arena. Over that span, Bishop has allowed a combined six goals, helping Tampa Bay stay in striking distance of a playoff berth.

"He's just in command of his game," coach Jon Cooper said. "He looks intimidating when he's in there."

You ride the hot hand, right? But for how long? Bishop may be in his last week in a Lightning uniform, his name a part of trade speculation leading up to the March 1 deadline. Bishop is an unrestricted free agent next summer, when Tampa Bay would lose him for nothing.

Play him or trade him. It's a tough call for general manager Steve Yzerman.

"I don't want to lose any of our guys at the trade deadline," Cooper said. "We're in a different position now than we've been since I've been here. I don't believe in the whole buyers and sellers. It's how are we going to make the playoffs?

"This team has stayed together three straight years, we've had the same group and had a lot of success with that group. We've got this group in the room and we're going to roll with them."

Bishop isn't the only trade target among Lightning players. Center Brian Boyle, also a pending unrestricted free agent, is drawing interest from Tuesday's opponent, the Oilers, Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs, among others. Tyler Johnson, whose Triplets line is on fire (eight points Tuesday), could be an answer for a top-six forward for the Islanders or Predators, with both teams having scouts at Tuesday's game.

But the writing on the wall for Bishop's departure began at June's NHL draft, when he was nearly dealt to the Flames. When asked the likelihood of Bishop remaining with Tampa Bay after the deadline, Yzerman declined to answer. But Yzerman made it clear he isn't giving anyone away.

It's hard to know what the market is for goaltenders. Calgary, which is in town Thursday, may have some interest. And Bishop, who has a partial no-trade clause, already considered the Flames enough over the summer to talk contract.

But for now, Bishop remains. Just don't expect him to get all the starts. Cooper said Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has also played well, will continue to get time, too.

"There's no sense in sitting here saying, 'We're going to ride one,' " Cooper said. "Is playing one guy two in a row riding him? I say playing someone 10 games in a row is riding him. I don't see that happening."

Cooper said the team's improved defensive play and Bishop's resurgence go hand in hand. While it can, the Lightning should hand the net to Bishop.

"I feel like I'm getting some bounces now, not getting many fluky ones," Bishop said. "Guys are playing well and it's kind of a snowball effect. Hopefully we can keep building."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Lightning 1 1 2 4
Oilers 0 1 0 1

First Period1, Tampa Bay, Palat 12 (Kucherov), 4:26. PenaltiesHedman, TB, (tripping), 5:29.

Second Period2, Tampa Bay, Palat 13 (Johnson, Kucherov), 0:16. 3, Edmonton, Pakarinen 1 (Klefbom, Larsson), 10:17. PenaltiesBenning, EDM, (hooking), 17:51.

Third Period4, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 22 (Stralman, Johnson), 0:49. 5, Tampa Bay, Namestnikov 8 (Kucherov), 19:59. PenaltiesLucic, EDM, (cross checking), 1:21; Dotchin, TB, (unsportsmanlike conduct), 1:21. Shots on GoalEdmonton 7-9-5—21. Tampa Bay 12-10-6—28. Power-play opportunitiesEdmonton 0 of 1; Tampa Bay 0 of 1. GoaliesEdmonton, Brossoit 1-1-0 (27 shots-24 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 16-12-3 (21-20). A19,092 (19,092). Referees—Frederick L'Ecuyer, Chris Rooney. LinesmenDevin Berg, John Grandt.

Lightning cruises past Oilers for fifth win in seven games 02/21/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 11:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends

    Bucs

    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.