Ben Bishop made the most of his Tampa Bay Lightning debut Thursday night.
Bishop made 45 saves to record a shutout just one day after being acquired by the Lightning from the Ottawa Senators prior to Wednesday’s NHL Trade Deadline, as he led the Bolts to a 5-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh.
The performance rendered Bishop just the second netminder in club history to record a shutout in his team debut, joining only Dwayne Roloson, who did it first back on January 4, 2011 in a 1-0 win against the Washington Capitals.
Bishop also proved responsible for registering the team’s first shutout since October 29, 2011.
“I tried not to put too much pressure on myself and I just treated it like every other game,” Bishop said. “There was a lot of talk, guys did a great job in front of me blocking shots, so I thought it was a really good effort. The key for me was just to keep it simple.”
The win pulled the Lightning into a tie with Carolina in the Southeast Division, as both Tampa Bay and the Hurricanes now have 34 points apiece.
The triumph also helped Tampa Bay improve to 4-0-0 on the season against the Hurricanes.
“Guys are adapting well, and I thought we played well, so we just have to keep it going,” said Bolts captain Vincent Lecavalier, who returned to the lineup Thursday after missing nine games due to injury. Lecavalier hit two posts on the night.
After a scoreless first period, Purcell sparked a three-goal second frame when he opened the scoring just 28 seconds into the stanza after cleaning up a rebound in front of the net off an initial shot from Carle.
“We had a couple of chances early in the shift, but I kind of got lost there and found the open hole to put it in,” Purcell said.
Ellis stopped 25 of 30 shots on the night for Carolina, which has now lost 10 of its past 11 games.
The Hurricanes, however, had their chances, but Bishop was equal to the task.
He first stopped Jeff Skinner on a breakaway in the second period, and also was key on the penalty kill in helping the Lightning kill off a 5-on-3 opposing power play to keep Carolina off the board.
“They always say your best penalty killer is your goaltender and Ben Bishop was there,” Purcell added. “He’s athletic, a calming influence, and he was there to make the big saves.”
Aulie’s second of the year put Tampa Bay up 3-0 just before the period ended with a slap shot to the top corner that went bar down, hitting off the crossbar before finding the back of the net.
The Lightning then took a 4-0 lead in the opening minutes of the third when St. Louis took a beautiful feed from Pouliot and sent one into an open cage as Ellis tried to get back across the crease.
Pouliot capped the scoring with a goal of his own just 5:06 later, wristing a shot from in close past Ellis off a great feed from Stamkos late in the third period.
“We weathered the storm early and Bish played really well for us tonight,” St. Louis said. “We just kept coming, and we played a strong game. We played the way we wanted to play. It was fun out there.”