TAMPA, Fla. – There has been a number of times this season when netminder Ben Bishop has made the saves he should along with the saves he shouldn’t for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Thursday’s contest against the Edmonton Oilers marked another game when he made more than enough saves he should not have to help the Bolts earn a 4-2 victory against the Oilers.
“As I say about goaltenders, you want the goaltender to make the saves he should and if he can make a few he shouldn’t, you have a great chance of winning,” head coach Jon Cooper said. “The problem was he made a lot that maybe he shouldn’t.
“He was the best player on the ice for both teams hand down.”
The fans at the Tampa Bay Times Forum also let Bishop know that his play was key in the win, as his name was chanted throughout the arena.
“I haven’t heard my name chanted since college,” Bishop said. “It was the first time in the pros.”
While Stamkos had two unassisted tallies to help lead the Lightning offense, the win was a win, but not one the team held their heads highly for.
“We’re not happy with the way we played tonight,” Stamkos said. “It’s tough to play in this league, but we can’t play like that in the long run to win games.”
The first period ended with the pair of goals from Stamkos and the Lightning skated away with a 2-1 lead. Striking first at 7:37, the Oilers Nail Yakupov tried to avoid a hit from Alex Killorn, but turned the puck over to Stamkos in the process. Stamkos then skated down the slot and sent a shot past Edmonton goaltender Devan Dubnyk for a 1-0 lead.
The Oilers got one back less than three minutes later as Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle setup blueliner Taylor Fedun for his second goal of the season and the game-tying goal at 10:11 of the opening frame. Eberle and Ales Hemsky both were credited with assists on the play.
It was not all for Stamkos though, who scored 13th goal of the season with 52.7 seconds left in the period. Again stealing the puck, this time from Eberle, Stamkos wrapped around Dubnyk’s net, scoring the go-ahead tally.
Lightning’s Bishop kept momentum on Tampa Bay’s side in the second, stopping all 15 shots he faced, including a late-period breakaway from former first-round draft pick Taylor Hall. The Bolts then added one more to build off of Bishop’s success when Richard Panik sent a pass from the right side of the net to Tyler Johnson in the slot. Johnson then went five-hole on Dubnyk for a 3-1 lead with 1:27 remaining in the middle period.
After going scoreless through the midway point of the third, Hall cut the Lightning’s lead to one by taking advantage on the power-play. Fed a pass from Eberle, Hall sent one past Bishop stick side from the right face-off circle for a 3-2 score in favor of Tampa Bay at 10:22.
The Hall tally was not enough however, after the Oilers pulled the goalie to add the extra attacker, Valtteri Filppula sunk the empty-netter to give the Bolts a 4-2 advantage with 1:05 remaining in the game, which ended up being the final.
UP NEXT – Tampa Bay opens up a three-game road trip starting in Detroit versus the Red Wings on Saturday, and also featuring two other Atlantic Division foes, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens in back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday. The Bolts return home for a game against the Anaheim Ducks at the Times Forum, before heading out West the day after.
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