Tampa Bay Lightning
New goalie Bishop blanks Carolina in Bolts’ debut
RALEIGH, N.C. -
It certainly didn’t take long for Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop to introduce himself to his new teammates.
Shutting the door on the opposition will garner plenty of attention.
Bishop, acquired from Ottawa on Wednesday ahead of the trade deadline, stopped all 45 shots and received plenty of offensive support in a 5-0 victory at Carolina in front of an announced crowd of 17,042 at PNC Arena.
The shutout is the first in 106 games by a Lightning goaltender, dating to Oct. 29, 2011, when Dwayne Roloson beat the Winnipeg Jets 1-0; the streak had been the longest active in the league. The 45-save shutout is also the fourth with at least 40 saves in Lightning franchise history, joining Daren Puppa (Nov. 27, 1995) and Nikolai Khabibulin (Nov. 25, 2001 and Jan. 28, 2002) and ties a franchise record for saves in a shutout set by Puppa.
But Bishop wasn’t out for personal accolades.
“This is big for the team, there are no individuals in here,” Bishop said. “We are chasing a playoff spot so every game is important. I just wanted to get off on the right foot and do that with a win.”
Marty St. Louis had a goal and three points while Benoit Pouliot, Tom Pyatt, Keith Aulie and Teddy Purcell also scored for the Lightning. Matt Carle, Steven Stamkos and Pouliot all had two points.
Tampa Bay now has wins in three of the past four games (3-0-1) and suddenly finds itself four points out of the Southeast Division lead with games in hand on both Washington and Winnipeg.
After a feeling-out process to start the game, Bishop came up large as the Hurricanes took control of the second half of the first period, getting the final eight shots on goal. Carolina nearly took the lead in the final minute after Dana Tyrell had his pocket picked from behind by Alex Semin. As Semin stripped Tyrell just inside the Carolina zone, he was able to get up ice and kick-start a 2-on-1 break with Eric Staal. Semin fed Staal between the circles before receiving a return pass that was a tad behind, where he got his skate on the puck, but the goal was waved off as it was ruled he kicked the puck in with 37.1 seconds left as Bishop finished with 16 saves in the first period.
“You want to get off to a good start, no matter what, as an individual and as a team, and he did that,’’ Carle said. “It may not have been the start we wanted, but we didn’t give up too many grade-A scoring chances, and we weathered the storm.’’
In the opening minute of the second period, the Lightning took the lead when Carle kept a puck in the zone and put a shot on net that Dan Ellis failed to glove cleanly, allowing Purcell to find the rebound 28 seconds into the period.
After Tampa Bay killed off two penalties, including 37 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage, the Lightning gained a two-goal lead, which came off an offensive zone faceoff following an icing call. Eric Brewer took a pass at the left point and found Alex Killorn at the right circle before Killorn found Pyatt in front for a redirect at 15:55.
Aulie then made it 3-0 in the final minute with a seeing-eye shot from the far left point that found the top far corner with 42.4 seconds left in the period. The goal was the second of the season for Aulie, both coming at PNC Arena.
Tampa Bay then pulled away with a pair of third-period goals, first on a highlight reel give-and-go that saw St. Louis in the right circle one-time a cross-ice pass from Pouliot 2:24 into the period.
Pouliot made it 5-0 just seconds after he was robbed in front by Ellis. St. Louis collected the puck in the corner and found Stamkos, who then found an open Pouliot at 7:30 of the period.
From there it was all about preserving the shutout and allowing Bishop to cap a memorable debut in a Lightning uniform.
“I felt that once we sort of had the game in hand, it was a matter of whether we were going to keep the goose egg up there,’’ Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “Overall I thought we really kept them to the outside, didn’t really give up a ton of grade-A chances, but when we did Bish was there, so it was a really good team effort.’’