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Lightning top Canucks, take first place in East

by Corey Long /

TAMPA -- Ben Bishop made 27 saves and Alex Killorn scored two goals to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.

Valtteri Filppula and Brian Boyle also had goals for the Lightning (30-14-4), who have won eight straight games at home and will enter the All-Star break atop the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference with 64 points. Tampa Bay resumes play after the break with a road game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 27.

"We've had a really good run at home," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I think part of it is we go on the road for a long time and then we come home and have decent stretches at home. You also catch teams coming in and playing us and [the] Florida [Panthers]; sometimes we get the back-to-back."

Defenseman Frank Corrado scored the lone goal for Vancouver (26-16-3), which had its three-game winning streak ended. The Canucks finished 3-2-0 on their five-game road trip.

Filppula gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 13:32 of the second period. He escaped checking attempts by Canucks center Henrik Sedin and got to the front of the net, where he tipped in a pass from Steven Stamkos past goaltender Ryan Miller for his ninth goal of the season.

"[Stamkos] made a real nice play there and got the pass up so I didn't have to reach for it," Filppula said. "It was important to get that first goal on them because their goalie has been playing well and he was playing well tonight for most of the first two periods. We were able to get chances and get enough goals for the win."

Killorn gave Tampa Bay a two-goal lead 11 seconds into the third period when he controlled a loose puck off the boards and wristed a shot past Miller on the stick side. Boyle scored his ninth goal of the season to give the Lightning a 3-0 lead at 4:16 when he one-timed Brett Connolly's pass between Miller's pads.

"It was disappointing because we had chances and we were in a good position there in the third," Miller said. "I'm disappointed not to get a save for the guys to keep it close there. I could have done a better job to keep it closer."

Bishop didn't face a shot until 14:35 of the first period but he had to make a tough save on Canucks forward Radim Vrbata from the right circle near the end of the period.

In the second period the Lightning successfully killed a 5-on-3 after Ryan Callahan and Cedric Paquette were called for penalties, giving up three shots and not allowing Vancouver to set up a strong scoring chance.

"Some of those penalties were hard penalties, when we were in a battle or trying to be physical," Boyle said. "It all starts with [Bishop], he's our No. 1 penalty killer, and from there the defensemen and the forwards working together. We were selling out and blocking shots and that's something that we take pride in."

Vancouver was 0-for-7 on the power play, including a second 5-on-3 chance in the third period when Connolly and defenseman Anton Stralman were sent off 43 seconds apart. The opportunity was short-lived as Vrbata was whistled for tripping 45 seconds into the two-man advantage.

"I think our first 5-on-3 we had some looks, 4-on-3 too, and if we score there, it is a different game," Canucks forward Daniel Sedin said. "Even the last 5-on-3, score there and it's a 3-2 game. So I think the power play let us down tonight for sure, in a game that was there for us to win."

The Canucks got on the board at 8:09 of the third period when Corrado scored his first goal of the season off assists by Alexandre Burrows and Chris Higgins. Vancouver received three power plays in a 4:08 span of the third period, but was unable to capitalize, and Killorn put the game away with an empty-net goal at 17:34. It was his 11th goal of the season.

"This was exactly the way we wanted to end the first half of the season," Bishop said. "We're playing with a lot of confidence at home and we're playing really well in the third period of our games. We've been able to battle and get some victories that have put us in a good place. The schedule is going to get harder in the second half, so it's important that the guys rest up over these next few days and get ready."

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