Bishop, Lightning shut out Hurricanes

David Droschak, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning have found quite a comfort zone at PNC Arena the last few seasons.
Ben Bishop recorded his second shutout in as many games against Carolina while Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman scored as Tampa Bay continued its road mastery of the Hurricanes with a 3-0 victory Friday night.
"Sometimes you feel good heading into certain buildings against certain teams because you've had success in the past ... and you ride it," said Stamkos, who scored his 10th of the season.
The Lightning have started 9-4, beating their former Southeast Division rival for the eighth time in the last nine visits to Raleigh. Bishop stopped 31 shots en route to his fourth career shutout. His first came in his Tampa Bay debut here April 4.
"This is a tough league to come from back," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said when asked about his club's fast start. "Look no further than Columbus last year when they reeled off 19 wins in 23 games and couldn't get in (to the playoffs). You can't fall behind. You have to be in the hunt. People argue you have win the games in March and April. Yeah, you have to win those but you have to win the ones in October and November if you want to give yourself a chance. So far so good for us."
"For the most part we've responded to the games we haven't played well and this was another perfect example," Stamkos said about the team's nine wins in 13 tries. "We didn't have the game we wanted to the other night in New Jersey, and even though we came out here and had three shots in the first we had some opportunities and we responded."
Bishop has stopped all 76 shots he has faced at PNC Arena, including a barrage in the final five minutes against a desperate Carolina team searching for any kind of goal these days.
"I asked him who he ticked off on our team because it looked like a few guys on our team looked like they didn't want him to get the shutout tonight," Cooper said. "I thought he made all the saves he had to make and you need your goaltender to make a couple you can't make and he did that tonight, too. He's been in this Lightning uniform for two games in this building that I've been a part of and faced a boatload of shots, and he's 76-for-76."
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes continue to struggle on offense, losing their fourth straight after starting the season 4-2-3. During the skid the Canes have been outscored 13-4.
"No one's going to feel sorry for us," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. "We just have to man up."
Hedman, with 17 career goals in 270 games, broke the scoreless tie halfway through the second period when he intentionally played the puck off the end boards from the left point. The puck caromed off the back of one of Justin Peters' pads, and when the Carolina goalie tried to recover he kicked it into the net with his other pad.
Stamkos put the game away with 8:22 left on his eighth shot of the game, beating Peters on a backhander he picked out of the air with Jiri Tlusty draped on his back. Alex Killorn added his third goal of the season with 2:46 left on a 2-on-1 breakout with Martin St. Louis, who had two assists.
"That was fun," said Stamkos, who missed on several golden scoring chances in the opening two periods. "I've learned throughout my career that you can't get frustrated. Maybe in the first couple of years and I didn't score I got down on myself and it ruins your game a little bit. I was joking with the guys on the bench and laughing. It's fun when you're getting that many chances; it means you're doing something right."
Carolina was 0-for-4 on the power play with just five man-advantage shots on Bishop, who had to make just two saves in the opening 14 minutes of the third period as the Hurricanes mounted few scoring chances on the 6-foot-7 goalie.
Peters kept the low-scoring Hurricanes in the game with a trio of nifty saves on Stamkos, one coming on a breakaway and two on consecutive point-blank attempts late in the second as the Lightning peppered the Carolina goalie with 16 shots after registering just three in the opening 20 minutes.
NOTES: Tampa Bay allowed just three first-period goals in 13 games. ... The two teams combined for only eight shots in the opening 24:23. ... Recently signed Hurricanes C Manny Malhotra last played Feb. 9, 2013. He won his first faceoff for the team less than two minutes into the game. ... Tampa Bay outscored the Hurricanes 20-7 last season as longtime members of the Southeast Division. ... Lightning RW Martin St. Louis came into the game tied with Mark Recchi for the eighth-most points (83) scored by an opponent against the Whalers/Hurricanes. ... Hurricanes captain C Eric Staal was called for tripping in the second period and hooking in the third, and now has nine minors in 13 games to lead the team with 18 penalty minutes.