Ben Bishop stepped up when the Tampa Bay Lightning needed a big effort from the goaltender.
Bishop made 40 saves to lead the Lightning to a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.
Article continues below ...
"He was the factor in the first two periods for sure," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "You need that last line of defense and if you’re going to win some games and you want to put yourself in a position to be in the playoffs, you need goaltending."
Bishop credited his team’s defensive play.
"We went out and got some key acquisitions in the summer," he said. "Everybody that plays, plays well and it was no different tonight."
Jonathan Drouin, Vladislav Namestnikov and Ondrej Palat scored in the second period for Tampa Bay, which has won three of four on a five-game road trip that ends at Minnesota on Saturday night. Steven Stamkos scored in the first, and Nikita Kucherov finished with three assists.
The Lightning were without one of their top defensemen. Victor Hedman is out four to six weeks with a fractured finger.
The team also lost forwards Ryan Callahan and Alex Killorn to injuries on this road trip, and right winger J.T. Brown left Friday night’s game in the first period.
"It’s part of the game," Bishop said of the rash of injuries. "It happens to every team. Right now it’s happening to us a little more."
Bryan Little scored Winnipeg’s first power-play goal of the season, and Blake Wheeler added his third goal in the third period.
"They’re definitely an offensive team and they took advantage of the opportunities we gave them tonight," Little said. "But it’s the kind of game that gives you a sour taste in your mouth because we made a couple of big mistakes they took advantage of, but for most of the game I thought we outplayed them."
Stamkos put the Lightning in front with his sixth goal at 4:41 of the first, completing a 2-on-1 break with Drouin. He beat Ondrej Pavelec on the goaltender’s stick side.
Drouin then scored his first NHL goal in the second, and Namestnikov tipped Palat’s shot past Pavelec on a power play to make it 3-1 at 12:52.
Palat beat his Czech countryman with less than two minutes to go in the period to make it 4-1. It was Palat’s third of the season.
Pavelec was pulled after the second and replaced by Michael Hutchinson. Pavelec finished with 14 saves, and Hutchinson stopped nine shots.
Little’s wrist shot at 5:33 of the second completed Winnipeg’s first successful power play, but the Jets were shut down by Bishop for most of the night. Wheeler flipped one into an open corner of the net at 10:19 of the third.
"Ninety-five percent of that game we were pretty in control of and playing really well and their chances were good chances and they capitalized," Wheeler said.
Tampa Bay did get Radko Gudas back on Friday night after the defenseman missed four games with a lower-body injury. He got in a scrap with Dustin Byfuglien and was slammed to the ice by the hulking Jet in the fracas.
NOTES: Andrew Ladd picked up his 199th career assist on Little’s goal and needs one more goal himself to hit 100 with the franchise.