TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Ben Bishop had a milestone game against one of the NHL’s greatest goalies.
Bishop stopped 23 shots to set Tampa Bay’s single-season record with 31 victories as the Lightning beat Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils 3-0 on Saturday night.
”He’s got a few more than me,” Bishop said of Brodeur, who tops the NHL’s career wins list with 686. ”It’s always nice playing against the best in the game, if not the best ever. So, whenever you can get a win against him, you remember those.”
Bishop (31-11-6) broke the mark held by Nikolai Khabibulin, which was set in 2002-03. It was Bishop’s fifth shutout this season.
”You’re watching the growth of Ben Bishop,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”He wants that next start. He’s not shying away from it.”
Bishop now has 49 career victories, including eight shutouts, in 97 games.
Michael Kostka had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay, which has won two in a row following a five-game losing streak (0-3-2). B.J Crombeen and Nate Thompson had the other goals for the Lightning.
Brodeur made 29 saves for the Devils, who were coming off a 5-3 loss Friday night at Florida. Brodeur had beaten Tampa Bay twice earlier this season, allowing just one goal overall.
”It’s all about winning,” Brodeur said. ”It doesn’t matter if I feel good in there. We didn’t get the win. On a personal note, I was seeing the puck pretty good.”
The Devils are 11th in the Eastern Conference.
”We all know what’s at stake,” New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said. ”It’s a disappointing trip, but the season is not over.”
Bishop turned aside four shots by Michael Ryder, including a nice arm save, during the first two periods, and gloved a shot from the top of the left circle by Adam Henrique with 6 1/2 minutes to go in the third.
Brodeur made a nifty glove save on Steven Stamkos’ shot 7 minutes into the second.
After J.T. Brown had his penalty shot stopped by Brodeur at 11:19, Crombeen, positioned in the slot, redirected Kostka’s shot past the New Jersey goalie for a 1-0 lead 1:07 later.
Kostka made it 2-0 when he was left alone just outside the crease and put a back-hander past Brodeur with 3:02 left in the second.
Valtteri Filppula assisted on both of the Lightning’s second-period goals, and has six assists and seven points during a four-game point streak.
Thompson scored at 16:41 of the third.
The Devils had a goal by Jon Merrill disallowed at 5:01 of the first because of incidental goalie contact.
”From the bench I couldn’t tell,” DeBoer said. ”When I watched the replay, their guy obviously was the one who interfered with the goalie. So it’s disappointing that that call wasn’t properly made. It’s water under the bridge. We’ve got to bounce back.”
New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr had his five-game point streak – three goals, six points – end. He had two shots and was minus-1.
NOTES: Stamkos was held without a point for the fourth time in five games since returning from a broken right shin. … Tampa Bay is 0 for 3 on penalty shots this season. … New Jersey C Ryan Carter didn’t play due to an upper-body injury. … Crombeen had been a healthy scratch the previous four games and six of the last seven.