Lightning zaps Oilers behind Bishop’s goaltending and Stamkos’s goals
Taylor Hall scores a power-play goal in his first game back in the lineup after missing seven games with a knee injury
TAMPA BAY, FLA. — Now fans know why the Edmonton Oilers tried to get the NHL’s skyscraper goalie, Ben Bishop, last April.
The six-foot-seven Bishop put an exclamation point on a show-stopping 38-save night with three minutes left in Thursday’s NHL game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
He stoned the Oilers’ Boyd Gordon after a wonderful pass from Nail Yakupov — one of a half-dozen spectacular saves — as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2.
Bishop was beaten by Taylor Fedun 10 minutes into the game — for the defenceman’s second goal in as many NHL games — and on a power play by Taylor Hall (eight shots overall) midway through the third period.
Meanwhile, the game’s best marksman, Steve Stamkos, scored two goals on his first two shots, pouncing on giveways. The first was an absolute rocket from four strides inside the blue-line after Yakupov couldn’t handle a hard pass. The second came after Stamkos’s Coke Zero TV commercial buddy Jordan Eberle bobbled the puck in the corner and the Lightning star muscled his way around the net and back out front to stuff a shot past Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk.
Pint-sized Tyler Johnson, with a shot that hit the skate of Oilers defenceman Philip Larsen, and Valterri Filppula, into the empty net, had the other markers for the Lightning, who are 6-0 against Western Conference teams and 11-4 on the season.
The Oilers deserved to at least get the game to overtime — they can’t play much better against a strong team — but they made mistakes and there are no points for moral victories.
Edmonton, 4-11-2, completes the four-game road trip with games Saturday in Philadelphia and Sunday at Chicago.
Head coach Dallas Eakins certainly had no gripes about his team’s effort in a track-meet type game with 66 shots and end-to-end entertainment.
“Bishop is a big, big man and he was covering a lot of net,” said Eakins. “We had him sideways a couple of times where he was really swimming, but he found a way to stop the puck.
“I thought he stole them the game.”
“One of the better goalie performances I’ve seen in a while. He was seeing it and he made some absolutely huge saves throughout,” said Dubnyk.
“Beaten by a hot goaltender ... yeah, pretty much the story,” said Hall, who played 22 hard minutes. “That save on Gordo at the end (diving with his glove covering the top half of the net), I don’t think he has any regrets where he put it.”
Hall also commended Yakupov for his play to get Gordon the puck.
“Nine times out of 10, that goal goes in,” Hall said.
“I have to take a look at the replay,” said Gordon, who should have extended the game to an extra period.
The Oilers had 12 shots in the first period, plus 14 in both the second and third periods.
“We’re not a poor is me team right now. We can make teams like Tampa turn over the puck,” said Eakins.
Unfortunately, the Oilers gave it up to the wrong guy — Stamkos twice.
“It was an honest mistake by Yak (Yakupov) on the first one. The pass to him was hard on his backhand and it comes up on him and the guy is right there. This is why I go back and forth with forwards playing their off side. If he’s a rightie, it’s on his tape and he handles it no problem,” said Eakins. “If it’s anybody else, the puck’s not in the net. Just happens to be Mr. Stamkos.”
Stamkos has 13 goals in 16 games.
“Steve Stamkos is like the Mike Bossys, the Luc Robitailles, the Brett Hulls. They can shoot five pucks and four will go in, while other people will shoot 100 and five will score,” said Tampa coach Jon Cooper. “They have the inate ability to score. It’s nothing taught; it’s something inside you.
“In saying that, what makes those players so good is they put themselves into positions to score. Stammer knows how to do it and you couple that with a shot that’s so fast, so hard ... ” said Cooper.
“Not the guy you want to give the puck to,” Dubnyk said.
There is no goalie, dead or alive, who would have stopped the first shot.
The timing of the wraparound by Stamkos hurt, with 53 seconds left in the period. It came off the slight miscue by Eberle, who was trying to get a bouncing puck on his blade.
“I was over there, I had my leg there; it’s not often it gets around the outside of my leg,” said Dubnyk, who faced 26 shots.
Dubnyk is a Stamkos fan.
“He finds every quiet area (to shoot), but if you watch him, he works his youknowwhat off. He works and works and works. He’s a good example. He doesn’t just shoot the puck, he creates turnovers and he gets two goals,” he said.
Fedun, who played 14-1/2 minutes, has scored two goals on his first three NHL shots.
“It’s funny. When he was getting on the bus to the rink, I was joking with him and said, ‘No one said you can’t score in your second game, too.’ All he said to me was, ‘Duly noted,’ ” said Eakins. “Good on him. I thought he had a solid game, again.
“Everybody likes Taylor. It’s nice that he gets a call-up, but when he gets two (goals) in two games, it’s exciting.”
ON THE BENCH: Yakupov sat for good stretches of the game — defensive problems, again ... David Perron (neck) will join the Oilers in Philadelphia, but is iffy to play on Saturday because he hasn’t practised with the team in a week.
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