Ben Bishop got the best of his former team on Tuesday night.
Making his first start in front of the home fans since being acquired last week, Bishop made 31 saves to help the Tampa Bay Lightning earn a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
It was Bishop’s fourth consecutive start in net for the Bolts, which improved to 5-0-1 in their past six games on home ice.
“It was a great feeling,” Bishop said of getting the win against his former club. “It was a big two points for our team and it was my first game in this building as a part of the Tampa Bay Lightning, so I wanted to get a big win for the fans and it was nice that it was against my old team.”
Steven Stamkos registered the game-winning goal at 14:56 of the third period while on the power play, snapping a 2-2 tie after tapping home Vincent Lecavalier’s feed through the crease that beat Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson.
The goal was Stamkos’ 26th of the year, which ties Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead.
Lecavalier also had a power-play goal in the win, and Pierre-Cedric Labrie notched the first tally of his NHL career for Tampa Bay, which saw its two-game skid come to a halt.
Martin St. Louis added two assists in the win, including the 900th point of his career, that ties him with Tony Amonte for 97th place on the NHL’s all-time points list.
Ottawa saw its season-high losing streak prolonged to five games, despite getting a goal from captain Daniel Alfredsson and an additional tally while on the man advantage from Guillaume Latendresse.
Kyle Turris also registered two assists in the loss, while Anderson finished the night with 21 saves.
“There was nothing real positive about this at all,” Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean said. “We haven’t won a game in what seems like forever and it’s getting hard. We haven’t played hard enough in the last five games to produce more than what we see as good opportunities. We need to do more.”
Alfredsson put Ottawa up 1-0 when he batted in a shot out of midair from Turris past Bishop, after the Lightning netminder got a piece of it, at 14:29 of the first.
Tampa Bay tied it up though in the early moments of the second frame after Labrie scored just 2:35 into the frame.
It not only pulled the Lightning even for the time being, but served as a catalyst in helping Tampa Bay overcome an early one-goal deficit.
Lecavalier gave the Bolts their first lead of the game just 1:53 after Labrie’s goal while on a 5-on-3 power play, collecting a rebound and lifting a shot above Anderson for a 2-1 lead.
Turris nearly tied it later on in the period, but the goal was waved off by the officials after it was determined Turris knocked the puck in with his stick high above the crossbar.
Still, the momentum didn’t cease, as Ottawa drew even just 21 seconds into the third when Latendresse wristed a rebound past Bishop while on the power play to tie the game 2-2.
Ottawa managed to kill off five of Tampa Bay’s seven power play opportunities on the night, but it was a late hooking call to Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar that proved costly.
Gonchar was sent off at 14:40 of the third after bringing down Stamkos, leading to the Lightning forward’s power-play goal that stood as the game-winner.
“The boys are learning how to win and what it takes,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “To see the guys laying out to block shots, you can just see the commitment level that was there the whole time.”