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game recap

Bishop leads Lightning past Coyotes

Tampa Bay goalie makes 32 saves, denies Arizona of fourth straight win

by Jerry Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. - After losing five of the past six games, the Tampa Bay Lightning labeled their game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday a must-win.

Goalie Ben Bishop made sure the Lightning got what they needed, and set a franchise record in the process.

Bishop made 32 saves for his 15th career shutout with Tampa Bay and the Lightning moved back into second place in the Atlantic Division with a 2-0 win at Gila River Arena.

Ondrej Palat scored in the final minute of the first period and Bishop did the rest, passing Nikolai Khabibulin on the Lightning all-time shutout list and lowering his NHL-best goals-against average to 2.02. The Lightning killed six Arizona power plays, including nearly two full minutes of 5-on-3 early in the second period.

Video: TBL@ARI: Bishop makes 31 saves for 30th win of season

Nikita Kucherov scored an empty-net goal with 49.6 seconds left for the Lightning (41-26-5), who jumped over the Boston Bruins and pulled within two points of the Florida Panthers for the Atlantic Division lead.

Bishop has 17 shutouts in his NHL career, including one each with the St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators.

"The PK came up big tonight with some key blocks in opportune times," said Bishop, who has allowed two goals or less in eight of the past 11 games. "We talked about it on Friday and obviously we weren't happy with the way we played in Dallas (a 4-3 loss on Thursday).

"We came out tonight and played one of our best periods, if not the best period of the year in the first, and now it's about doing that for three periods. It's better to win 1-0 than to lose 4-3."

Video: TBL@ARI: Palat scores late in the 1st period

The Lightning open a six-game homestand on Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings, who are four points behind Tampa Bay.

"I've been in the League a couple of years now and I don't think I've seen anything tight like this," Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman said. "And it's fun. You want to play games that matter. Right now, every game is big and every point is huge.

"We really needed this one; not just the win, but the effort level and the consistency in our game."

Louis Domingue made 33 saves for the Coyotes (31-33-7) who missed a chance to tie a season high with a fourth straight win.

"Louis was awesome," said Arizona forward Max Domi, who had a career-best eight shots on goal. "He hadn't played in a while, so it was nice to see him go in there and look like himself and give us a chance to win the whole game."

Video: TBL@ARI: Bishop makes two crucial stops late in 3rd

The Lightning, who played without right wing Ryan Callahan (lower body) and dressed 11 forwards, had 13 shots in the first period and held the Coyotes without one for nearly 12 minutes to open the game.

Domingue made big saves on Kucherov and Jonathan Marchessault before Tampa Bay capitalized in the final minute of the period, seconds after a failed power play.

Arizona's Michael Stone left the penalty box just before Victor Hedman found Palat with a pass at the top of the right circle. Palat's wrist shot beat Domingue at 19:03.

"I think it surprised even me when I shot it," said Palat, who has six goals in his past nine games. "He didn't expect that, nobody did, and it went in. We weren't doing good on the power play and we have been practicing 'just shoot the puck.' It was a bad shot, but it went in."

Video: TBL@ARI: Kucherov's long empty-net goal

The Coyotes had a great chance to respond when Tampa Bay defensemen Braydon Coburn (roughing) and Victor Hedman (delay of game) and forward Brian Boyle (slashing) all took minor penalties in the first 3:14 of the second period. The Coyotes had a two-man advantage for a total of 1:57 and put four shots on goal over that span but couldn't convert.

"That was a key part of the game. We had some chances we didn't capitalize on," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "Once we got our legs under us, it was a real competitive game. We could have had one on that 5-on-3. It certainly would have helped the situation."

Bishop made 11 saves in the third period, denying Kevin Connuaton and Zbynek Michaelek in succession with just over two minutes left to reach 30 wins for a third straight season.

"We have 10 games to go and a long way to get ourselves a playoff spot," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "But to be honest, I don't know if we're here without Bishop."

Video: Palat, Bishop lead Lightning past Coyotes, 2-0

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