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Bishop leaves shorthanded after Point, Lightning spoil return

Wayne Masut | Sr. Staff Photographer

The Lightning welcome the return of their former goalie by sending him off after his worst performance in over a year. The Bolts have won five straight.

For the first time since his departure on February 26, Ben Bishop took the ice at Amalie Arena. He was met by a barrage of shots early on as the Lightning recorded eight shots in as many minutes before ultimately totaling 28 at their former mate.

Historically, the home-crowd enjoys when Bishop shuts out the opposition – in the first period, not so much. After turning away the first 13 shots directed at him, things turned pretty quickly on the Dallas net-minder.

Tyler Johnson gave the Bolts their best chance at a goal in the opening frame. After Nikita Kucherov checked forward Devin Shore to the surface, he found Johnson in the slot but was denied by Bishop.

Second Period Scoring

With the benefit of a power-play (Hooking; Greg Pateryn) stemming from the first period, Stamkos tallied his league-best seventh man-advantage goal, just 47 seconds into the period. Dallas tied the score quickly thereafter.

Defenseman Braydon Coburn made a critical mistake as he skated out of his own zone. The turnover led to a clear path for center Radek Faksa’s game-tying marker.

Mikhail Sergachev continued the impressive start to his NHL career by adding his fifth goal of the season. The go-ahead goal came courtesy of his relentless work to free himself at the top-of-the-circle. He now leads all NHL defensemen with five goals – two better than Ian McCoshen of the Florida Panthers.

The Bolts held a two-goal (3-1) lead entering the final period of play.

Point benefits from Bishop’s mistake

Certainly you remember when Bishop notoriously ran into Victor Hedman during Game 5 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals, right? Blackhawks’ forward Patrick Sharp was the beneficiary on that night. Tonight, Bishop found himself misplaying a puck behind his own net, while on a power play, leading to Brayden Point’s first short-handed goal of the year. He joins Johnson and Yanni Gourde as the only Tampa Bay skaters to record a short-hander this year.

“Just keep skating, keep getting pucks in their end, keep trying to establish a good forecheck,” Point spoke of playing with a lead.

Tampa Bay has now won five games in a row – playing with a lead is something they have done well all season.

“Teams are giving us their best shot, we saw it today, Jon Cooper said after the game. “The timing for big goals has been exceptional for us.”

Cooper was also quick to give credit to the defensive performance from the line of Point, Gourde, and Ondrej Palat. The gas was not easy tonight but those three cam up big.

“Brayden Point’s line went against Jaime Benn for 21 minutes and held him off the score sheet. I think they held them to three or four shots, the entire line, and that is, to me, a big-time line. You gotta give them a ton of credit because it’s going to go unnoticed, but, phenomenal job,” the Lightning coach made sure to point out the accomplishment of his starting line – shutting down the Stars’ leading scorer.

Efficiency allows Lightning to pull away

Outshooting the Stars 13-6 in the first period, Tampa Bay allowed Dallas to pepper Andrei Vasilevskiy during the second and third period. Unlike his counterpart, the current Lightning goalie was strong to the task. While Vasilevskiy stopped 27-of-28 shots against him, Bishop allowed six goals on 15 shots during the final two periods.

Bishop returns to a standing ovation

Go back to October 30, 2016 against the New York Rangers. That’s where you’ll see the last six-goal game against Bishop. Despite the worst performance of his 2017 campaign, he was treated to a warm welcome by the home crowd.

Holding the franchise-mark in several key statistics, it’s no surprise that the Lightning faithful tipped their cap to the Stars’ goaltender. His former club honored him with a video tribute during the first period of tonight’s game.

Military Appreciation Night

You probably thought the biggest ovation of the night went to the visiting goaltender – wrong.

So then clearly it was Kucherov, Vasilevskiy, or Stamkos – wrong again.

At 92 years young, military veteran Cliff Zalay was showered with applause as he performed via harmonica, the National Anthem. The salute to our country was preceded by a moment of silence to honor all of the fallen soldiers

Note Worthy

  1. Eight of 13 regulation wins this season have come by two-or-more goals. That ties the St Louis Blues and New York Islanders for tops in the NHL.
  2. Stamkos has 62 multi-goal games (29 better than Martin St. Louis) during his Lightning career.
  3. Through 19 games, Tampa Bay leads the NHL (9) in five-or-more-goal nights.
  4. The penalty-kill unit has not allowed a goal in seven-straight games.

Three Stars of the Night

1st Star: Steven Stamkos (2 goals – 2 assists)

2nd Star: Mikhail Sergachev (1 goal – 1 assist)

3rd Star: Nikita Kucherov (1 goal – 2 assists)

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