Ben Bishop made 28 saves and earned his 19th shutout of his career, as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Los Angeles Kings 5-0 on Tuesday.
The victory marked the first time the Lightning have won back-to-back games since defeating the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues in successive games on Dec. 20 and Dec. 22.
On Tuesday, the Lightning were able to take advantage of strong goaltending, while also capitalizing on offensive opportunities, as Bishop’s performance in the first period helped the team play a more open game and take some chances later in the contest.
The Kings came out of the gate quickly in the first, firing 19 shots on goal, but unable to find the back of the net. When Drew Doughty and Tyler Johnson were each called for matching minors at 6:26 of the period and with both teams at four skaters aside, Jonathan Drouin tallied his 16th goal of the season.
The Lightning buckled down defensively in the middle period, holding the Kings to just three shots on goal and seemingly feeding off of the big saves Bishop made in the first, to create more opportunities on the rush. Nikita Kucherov added two goals in the period, while Gabriel Dumont added his first goal as a member of the Lightning, giving them a commanding 4-0 lead after forty minutes of play.
The game was not without chances for the Kings, however, as they hit the post on a couple occasions during the contest and also forced Bishop to make some big saves — mostly in the first period.
Both teams went 0-for-2 with the man advantage on the evening, including a power play opportunity for each side in the third period. Braydon Coburn added to the Lightning’s lead with just 6:52 left to play, helping the Lightning secure their 24th win of the season.
Let’s take a closer look at how things played out on Tuesday:
The Lightning went on the penalty kill early in the game, when Victor Hedman was called for hooking at the 4:15 mark of the first period, but successfully killed off the Kings’ first opportunity. Seconds after the teams got back to even strength, Doughty hooked down Johnson at 6:26, but the Lightning center was also called for embellishment — to a crowd of boo’s at Amalie Arena.
During the ensuing 4-on-4, Drouin controlled the puck and skated into the offensive zone along the left boards before cutting in towards the net around Tyler Toffoli before rocketing a wrist shot just underneath the crossbar and past Kings goaltender Peter Budaj for his 16th goal of the season unassisted.
The Lightning had another good opportunity when Luke Witkowski took a shot from the blue line that bounced off the post and behind Budaj, but never found it’s way into the net, as it remained a one-goal game.
The Kings continued to fire pucks on the Lightning net — finishing the period with 19 shots — but Bishop was able to keep them off the board, including a great opportunity by Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin.
With under 20 seconds remaining in the period, Nikita Kucherov skated into the offensive zone with Johnson on the right wing on a 2-on-1. Kucherov feathered a pass underneath the Kings player but Johnson fired it past the net and the period expired seconds later.
The Lightning exploded for three goals in the middle frame, while outshooting the 8-3 in the span. Vladislav Namestnikov fed a puck from the defensive zone to the tape of Kucherov’s stick at center ice, after he’d snuck behind the Kings’ defensemen and went in all alone on Budaj. Kucherov snapped a wrist shot off that beat Budaj through the five-hole for his 20th goal of the season at 6:55.
The Lightning continued a dominant second period when J.T. Brown sent a puck from the right boards to the stick of Dumont, who tipped it between Budaj’s legs for his first goal as a member of the Lightning at 11:02.
Shortly after the Lightning made it 3-0, the Kings had their best chance of the period when Tyler Toffoli backhanded a puck behind Bishop that slid across the crease from left to right, but never got close to finding the back of the net.
Namestnikov and Kucherov connected again at the 18:18 mark when Namestnikov took a feed from Kucherov on the rush and then saucered it just above ice level to Kucherov who tapped it on a redirect past Budaj for his second goal of the game.
The Lightning bounced back from allowing so many shots in the opening period by outshooting the Kings, 8-3 in the middle frame.
The Lightning continued their sound play defensively by allowing just six shots on goal in the third period, while also receiving a little bit of puck-luck with some shots that struck the iron during the contest.
Coburn was called for hooking at 10:04 putting the Kings on their second power play of the evening, but the Lightning had an effective penalty kill and the teams went back to even strength. At the 13:08 mark of the period, Drouin wristed a puck from near the point that Budaj stopped, but Coburn was just outside the crease and backhanded it over Budaj and into the net for his second goal of the season.
TBL — Jonathan Drouin (16) unassisted
TBL — Nikita Kucherov (20) assisted by Vladislav Namestnikov and Andrej Sustr
TBL — Gabriel Dumont (1) assisted by J.T. Brown and Victor Hedman
TBL — Nikita Kucherov (21) assisted by Vladislav Namestnikov and Luke Witkowski
TBL — Braydon Coburn (2) assisted by Jonathan Drouin and Joel Vermin
THW Three Stars
First: Nikita Kucherov (two goals)
Second: Ben Bishop (28 saves, shutout)
Third: Vladislav Namestnikov (two assists)
What’s Up Next
Los Angeles Kings at Florida Panthers
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017
BB&T Center – 7:30 P.M. EST
Broadcast Channels – FS-F, FS-W
Tampa Bay Lightning at Minnesota Wild
Friday, Feb. 10, 2017
Amalie Arena – 8:00 P.M. EST
Broadcast Channels – NBCSN
Steven is a lawyer and writer with a passion for the game of hockey. He’s the Lead Writer covering the Tampa Bay Lightning with THW. He’s also been press credentialed through the Lightning since 2016. His work has been published at The Fourth Period, LightningInsider.com, Bolt Prospects, The Sports Daily Network, U.S. College Hockey Online and College Hockey News. He’s had radio appearances on TSN 690 in Montreal, Lightning Power Play Live and multiple podcasts to give insight and analysis on the team. He can be reached on Twitter @StevenDiOssi and by email at email@example.com.