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For Lightning's Steven Stamkos, shots have gone dark

Steven Stamkos didn’t have a shot on goal in Games 3 and 4 against the Canadiens. “I have to find a way,” he says.
Steven Stamkos didn’t have a shot on goal in Games 3 and 4 against the Canadiens. “I have to find a way,” he says.
Published May 9, 2015

MONTREAL — Though C Steven Stamkos snapped his playoff scoring drought Sunday, he has started a different kind of slump.

Stamkos was held without a shot on goal in Games 3 and 4 against Montreal, just the fourth time in his seven-year career he has gone back-to-back games without one. The last time was Feb. 27-March 2, 2011.

In the 167 games he has played in the past three regular seasons, Stamkos has been without a shot just three times.

"I've got to be better and try to find ways," Stamkos said. "I don't feel like I've been in position to shoot the last couple games. I have to find a way."

Coach Jon Cooper said credit must be given to the Canadiens for their play defensively on Stamkos, a two-time Rocket Richard trophy winner as the league's top goal scorer. Cooper tried to switch things up midway through Thursday's game Game 4, putting touted rookie LW Jonathan Drouin on Stamkos' line.

But Cooper said there's an "onus" on Stamkos to fight through it. Stamkos, who had 43 goals in the regular season, has one goal and seven assists in 11 games this postseason.

"He's going to have to find different ways to get to the net, whether it's popping out into his one-timer spot, getting into the hole, jamming pucks to the net," Cooper said. "He's got to find different ways.

"But you don't score the amount of goals he's scored in his career by just doing the same thing. He's good at it. I've been with 'Stammer' a couple years now, and that kid finds a way. He'll find a way."

BISH PLEASE: G Ben Bishop's career dominance over the Canadiens took a hit in Thursday's 6-2 loss.

After stopping 100 of the 104 shots he faced in the series' first three games, Bishop was pulled five minutes into the second period Thursday after allowing three goals on 14 shots.

Though that wasn't all on Bishop and was more due to poor defensive play, the Canadiens' success gave them a significant mental breakthrough.

"I think Bishop sort of was sitting on a horseshoe for a little bit there," Montreal D P.K. Subban said. "He's played well, but he's been lucky as well. I think seeing him being pulled out of the net is a confidence booster for our team as well."

Bishop is 13-2-2 against Montreal in his career, including 8-1 this season. Cooper chuckled at Subban's comment, calling him a "character" before playing along.

"He may be right," Cooper said. "Or Ben might be a good goalie. We'll take that one."

Bishop has typically bounced back well in games after being pulled. In three such occasions this season, Bishop was 2-1 in the next game, allowing three goals or fewer in each.

Said Bishop: "Just got to hit the reset button."

ICE CHIPS: Neither the Lightning nor Canadiens practiced Friday before traveling to Montreal. … The Lightning is 4-1 on the road during the postseason. … RW Nikita Kucherov has four goals in his past three games.