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Lightning's Bishop, mates check Oilers

The SportsXchange

TAMPA, Fla. -- As Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper says, a good goaltender will make the saves he should make and a few that he should not.

Ben Bishop seemed to make them all Thursday night. The Tampa Bay goalie had 38 saves to lead the Lightning to a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

With the victory, Tampa Bay (11-4) continues its franchise-record pace as the season approaches the first-quarter mark.

"(Bishop) was the best player on the ice for both teams," Cooper said. "Probably don't need to say much more."

Center Steven Stamkos scored two first-period goals when the Edmonton defense failed to clear the puck out of its zone.

On the first goal, Stamkos intercepted a clearing attempt at the blue line and sent a shot over the shoulder of goalie Devan Dubnyk to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. Later in the first period, Dubnyk failed to get a stick on a loose puck and Stamkos executed a perfect wraparound, sending the puck between Dubnyk's pads.

"I think we made three mistakes tonight and two of them went to the wrong player," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "One guy you don't want to have the puck when you make a mistake and that's Mr. Stamkos. Otherwise, I thought we played with passion and competed hard."

The Lightning increased their lead to 3-1 in the second period when center Tyler Johnson finished off a nice pass from winger Richard Panik.

"We had a pretty good read there and extended it to 3-1," Bishop said. "So it gave us a little breathing room. We knew they had a lot of offensive power and they were coming at us 100 miles an hour."

The Oilers received goals from defenseman Taylor Fedun and forward Taylor Hall. Hall had several other scoring opportunities, including breakways, in the first and second period but was turned away by Bishop on both attempts.

"Pretty much the story of the game," Hall said. "I feel like there's been a lot of games this year where we have outshot them and out-chanced them, but we don't come out with the win. You can say bear down on your chances as much as you want, but at home their goalie has got to give you one."

Hall's goal came midway through the third period after center Jordan Eberle took a loose puck and set up Hall in the slot with an open look. Hall blasted a wrist shot past Bishop's stick side to the net to push the Oilers within one at 3-2.

"Bishop made a lot of saves he shouldn't have had to make," Cooper said. "I don't think we've given up scoring chances like in the last six games combined and that's what's really disappointing. This is taking nothing away from the Edmonton Oilers. They pressed and got their chances, but I truly believe we fed their chances. We let them play that way."

Bishop's biggest save came with three minutes remaining as he went full sprawl to deflect center Boyd Gordon's one timer with his stick. From there, the Oilers removed Bundyk for an extra skater, but once again failed to clear their zone and center Valtteri Filppula scored the empty-net goal to give the Lightning a decisive 4-2 advantage.

Eberle had two assists for the Oilers and defenseman Radko Gudas had the second assist on Johnson's goal. Dubnyk had 22 saves.

NOTES: Oilers RW Nail Yakupov, who has been the topic of recent trade rumors, was in the lineup Thursday after coach Dallas Eakins said there are no plans to trade him. "(Nail) is not being shopped, he's not going anywhere and I wanted him to hear that from me," said Eakins to the Edmonton Journal. ... Bishop posted his first career shutout against the Oilers on Feb. 25, 2011. ... The Oilers recalled LW Linus Omark from Oklahoma City and placed him in the starting lineup. Omark had eight goals and four assists with the AHL team. ... With two goals in the first period, Stamkos has scored goals in five straight games.
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