Lightning beat Senators for 8th straight win
Ben Bishop makes 33 saves, Ondrej Palat scores winner for Tampa
There's no denying Ben Bishop is at his best against the Ottawa Senators.
Bishop made 33 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 Thursday night, making him 9-0-3 against his former teammates.
"Like I said in the past, you know some of the guys, obviously you grow up with them playing with them for a couple of years," said Bishop. "You know some of their tendencies, but they're getting new guys it seems like every time so I'm kind of falling behind on that. I don't know the reason why [I have success], but I'll take them when they're coming."
The Lightning, who wrapped up a four-game road trip, have now won eight straight, tying a franchise record.
Ondrej Palat's second period goal held up as the winner. Cedric Paquette, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos — into an empty net — also scored for Tampa (38-22-4).
Marc Methot scored the lone goal for the Senators (30-28-7) as Andrew Hammond, making his first start since Feb. 11, faced 28 shots.
"I felt good about my game, but as I said they took advantage of a couple unfortunate bounces," said Hammond. "Unfortunately for us we just couldn't score."
The loss puts Ottawa's playoff hopes that much further out of reach as it now sits seven points back of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have two games in hand, for the final wild card.
Despite the loss Senators coach Dave Cameron was satisfied with his team's performance.
"I liked our whole game really, except the result," Cameron said. "I thought we did a lot of good things against a real good team. I have no complaints. I didn't have what I would consider a passenger [Thursday] and there's not many games, I don't think, you could say that about your team."
Leading 2-1 in the third the Lightning put the game out of reach as Kucherov took advantage of a Jean-Gabriel Pageau giveaway and beat Hammond easily at 18:14. Stamkos then added an empty-net goal.
"We knew they were going to be pressing and they did and [Bishop] was there when we needed him," said Stamkos. "That's why he's an elite goalie."
The Senators finally beat Bishop at 5:24 of the third. Zack Smith dropped the puck back to Methot who put it under the crossbar for his third of the season.
In front of 17,943 at Canadian Tire Centre the Senators did all they could to get the tying goal, but just couldn't get anything past Bishop.
"We just didn't generate enough good prime chances in the offensive zone," said Methot. "Against a dynamic, offensive team like that if you're not going to score a couple goals, you're not going to win the game."