Saturday, January 4
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Ben Bishop made 19 saves in his fourth shutout of the season, sending the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Friday night.
Rookie forwards Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov scored for the Lightning, who have gone 7-1-1 in their last nine games to move within two points of first-place Boston in the Atlantic Division.
Calgary ended its five-game homestand with four straight losses in regulation. Since the Christmas break, the Flames have one goal — by rookie Sean Monahan — in the last 245 minutes, 5 seconds.
The Flames got defenseman Dennis Wideman back after he missed 16 games with a broken hand. But even with his presence on the power play, Calgary went 0 for 5 with the man advantage.
Both goals in the second period came less than 10 seconds after minor penalties to veteran Calgary forward Mike Cammalleri had expired.
Shortly after Cammalleri returned from an interference call, a penalty he took while the Flames were on the man advantage, Teddy Purcell found Palat open in the slot and he sent a quick wrist shot into the top corner past Karri Ramo at 5:23.
Almost 5 minutes later, this time after Cammalleri returned from a penalty for closing his hand on the puck, the Lightning struck again. Kucherov scored with a wrist shot off a setup from Palat.
Palat extended his point streak to five games (two goals, four assists).
Perhaps the most dangerous early chance Bishop faced came in the first period when Mikael Backlund was hooked down on a partial breakaway by Eric Brewer.
The Flames were unable to generate much on the resulting power play.
Another great scoring chance for Calgary was negated in the second period.
With the Flames down 2-0, Joe Colborne broke into the Tampa Bay end on what appeared to be a breakaway. But play was suddenly stopped because Lightning defenseman Matthew Carle had broken his skate blade sliding into the end boards seconds earlier and was unable to get off the ice.
Making his first start in five games, Ramo was excellent for the Flames. Playing against the team that drafted him in 2006, Ramo was perfect on 13 shots in the first period, keeping Calgary in the game.
He made 27 saves in all and fell to 6-7-3.
Ramo was especially sharp in the third period, too. As the Flames pressed to get back into the game, the Lightning were able to counter with some dangerous chances, including three breakaways that were stopped.
NOTES: Tampa Bay is 13-7-4 since center Steven Stamkos (broken leg) has been out of the lineup. Stamkos is back skating with full equipment now and is nearing a return. ... Calgary LW Lance Bouma (ill) did not dress. ... The Lightning improved to 16-1-1 when they score first. ... The Flames have just two wins in regulation in their last 30 games. They've won seven games in overtime or a shootout during that stretch. ... Cammalleri was a minus-2 to fall to minus-21 on the season, which is second-to-last in the NHL ahead of only Edmonton's Nail Yakupov (minus-25).