CALGARY – Bolts netminder Ben Bishop may have said he was not bothered by the Olympic snub dealt to him Wednesday, but it may have given him a little extra motivation, winning his second straight contest, 2-0, against the Calgary Flames since Team USA's announcement.
"Ben's been the answer through 41 games this year," head coach Jon Cooper said. "I understand the decision USA hockey made. Ben's track record has been just this year and he's going to be the next one, I truly believe it. He made the choice hard on them and I'm really happy with the way he's responded, all he's done is elevate his game."
His fourth shutout of the season Friday at Scotiabank Saddledome now ties him for the league lead in the category with Tuukka Rask, while he is also tied for second in the NHL in wins with 22 through 31 starts. Bishop boasts a 7-0-1 record in his past eight games.
"It's a great win," Ben Bishop said. "The guys played a full sixty minutes tonight and made it pretty easy for me."
Former Bolts goaltender Karri Ramo also prevented the score from getting out of hand by stopping 27 of 29 shots for the Flames.
After a scoreless first Ondrej Palat factored in on both Lightning goals in the second period to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead against the Flames after 40 minutes of play. The first marker of the game was awarded to Palat, who went top shelf glove side on Ramo at 5:23. He then assisted on the second goal of the game five minutes later by sending a pass to Nikita Kucherov down the slot. Kucherov went stick side on Ramo for the two-goal lead.
Despite obtaining a 2-0 lead by the end of the middle frame the Lightning went without a shot on goal for the remainder of the period after Kucherov's tally; an elapsed time of 10:20.
"We've been playing well and have been fast. That's been the main key," Palat said. "We were a little slower in the last half of the second; we just needed to pick the speed back up in the third to close things out."
Despite being trapped in their own zone for nearly two minutes with back-to-back penalties on the Bolts early, they responded with a pair of shorthanded breakaways and their eventual fifth straight win on the road and third straight overall.
UP NEXT – The Lightning continue the second half of their four-game road trip as they travel to Edmonton tomorrow in preparation for a Sunday evening matchup against the Oilers. They will then face the Winnipeg Jets for the second time this season on Tuesday to wrap-up their Western Canada swing.
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