Bishop willing hapless, Stralman-less Lightning over the regular season finish line.
Ben Bishop stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout victory, and the customary meting of U of Maine Justice. You won't find a finer performance by a goaltender anywhere in Lightning history than what Bishop turned in tonight. Puppa and Khabibulin probably each turned in a game or two that were as good as that, but none better. He carried the Lightning on his back tonight.
7:34 TB Blunden(3), (Condra, Hedman)
14:29 TB Palat(15), (Stamkos, Garrison)
6:38 TB Hedman(8), (Stamkos, Condra)
For a second straight game the Lightning had to go without Anton Stralman and Nikita Kucherov, and for a second straight game the Lightning looked a bit lost and befuddled. The difference tonight was that the Toronto Marlies are barely a NHL caliber team and Ben Bishop re-routed power to the deflector shields all night long. Hopefully tonight was the last without Kucherov in the lineup and, over time, the team's defensemen will hit their stride without Stralman. But, for the moment, it's pretty awful. Erik Condra is playing on Steven Stamkos' line. That's how awful.
With 4 games left to go in the final 10-game segment of the season, the Lightning cut the magic number to 3 points, and they move into a tie in points with Florida, although the Panthers hold a game in hand in the race for the Atlantic Division title. The Lightning just have to grind out a couple of more wins as soon as possible, lock in their playoff position, and then spend their time getting their defensive pairings in order for the postseason.