COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Tampa Bay Lightning got back on track after a rough week. Ben Bishop and Steven Stamkos led the way.
Bishop made 37 saves, Stamkos had two goals and an assist and the Lightning beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0 on Sunday to stop a three-game slide.
Tampa Bay used a franchise-record nine-game winning streak to move into first place in the Atlantic Division. But the Lightning managed just three goals during their losing streak.
The victory against Columbus pushed Tampa Bay (40-24-5) into a tie with idle Florida (38-21-9) for second in the division with 85 points, but Nikita Kucherov and Valtteri Filppula left with injuries.
“You go down to nine forwards in a game that was physical,” said Stamkos, who hit the 30-goal mark for the fifth time in eight seasons. “It was hard-nosed. We showed a lot of character, especially in the third.”
Bishop earned his fourth shutout of the season and No. 16 for his career. Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist, and Vladislav Namestnikov also scored.
“I just try to stay big,” Bishop said. “I’ve got a good team in front of me. The guys did a good job. Not many second opportunities, rebounds there.”
Bishop hung in there as Columbus crashed the net for much of the day. He helped Tampa Bay carry a 1-0 lead into the final period, and the Lightning put it away with three goals in the third, two of them short-handed.
Sergei Bobrovsky had 33 saves for Columbus in his second straight start since missing 19 games with another groin injury. The Blue Jackets have dropped three of four.
Stamkos scored for the first time in five games early in the second period. He beat Bobrovsky at 5:29 with a one-timer off a pass from Kucherov.
Bishop drew the ire of Columbus fans late in the first period, leading to a round of boos the rest of the way whenever he was involved with the play.
Bishop reached over the crossbar during a skirmish to put his glove on the face of Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno. When Foligno skated out of the area and past the crease, he shoved Bishop.
“At first it was kind of just to mess with him because I played with him,” Bishop said with a grin. “I think I might of gone a little too hard on him.”
A bit later, Bishop sat on his rear to the side of the goal as Alexander Wennberg scored into a gaping net. But it was waved off because of incidental contact on Bishop by Boone Jenner.
The Bishop-Foligno antics carried into the second period. They collided behind the net while converging on a puck at 7:38. Foligno was given a tripping penalty that Bishop maybe embellished, Foligno said.
“I know him well,” he said. “I played with him in Ottawa. He was laughing about that.”
With 25 seconds remaining in the period, Foligno was pushed onto Bishop during a scramble for a loose puck.
That all became a distant memory in the third when the Lightning easily pulled away.
“It’s another lesson we just have to work through,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “Just stay within ourselves and keep on playing. If it takes us until the last minute of the game to tie that game up so be it.”
Dalton Prout coughed up his breakout pass and Namestnikov scored from the slot at 8:45 for this 12th. Stamkos added another goal on a 2-on-0 short-handed break just over two minutes later, giving him 31 on the season.
“It’s really been my first consistent chance in a while at the PK,” Stamkos said. “Just trying to make reads that I think I would make on the power plays. It’s been working.”
Palat wristed in a short-handed score on a pass from Stamkos at 14:39.
NOTES: Columbus LW Brandon Saad, who is tied for the team lead with 24 goals, returned to the ice after not dressing for three games with an upper-body injury. … Tampa Bay is 24-10-1 when Bishop allows two goals or less. … Linesman Steve Miller appeared to injure his leg when Tampa Bay D Braydon Coburn ran into him along the boards early in the second period. He did not return. … The Lightning swept the season series.