Ben Bishop did everything he could to get the Lightning off their three-game losing streak.
Unfortunately, he couldn't do it all -- including scoring a goal himself or stopping a shot that came from his own team -- as the Ducks beat the Bolts 1-0 in overtime at Honda Center on Friday night.
The Bolts got out to a quick start in the first period, sending 6 of the first 8 shots of the game Jonas Hiller's way, who was starting in place of Viktor Fasth. Fasth went down with a "lower-body" injury during warm-ups, just moments before puck drop.
The newly formed trio of Ryan Malone, Alex Killorn, and J.T. Brown got the best of the Lightning chances in the first, with a couple of grade A scoring chances for Brown on a loose puck all alone in front of Hiller and a 2-on-1 break, but Hiller stopped both to keep the game scoreless.
The Ducks' best chance early on came on the lone Lightning power play of the period, when Victor Hedman was stripped at the center point by Ryan Getzlaf, who skated in alone on Ben Bishop but was stopped on his breakaway attempt to preserve the 0-0 tie.
After the early surge, the Ducks -- winless in their last 5 games prior to tonight, and struggling much like the Lightning -- engaged the Bolts in some physicality, as newly acquired winger Tim Jackman tussled with BJ Crombeen and Luca Sbisa fought Radko Gudas after a clean hit by Gudas in the corner.
The Ducks were all over the Lightning in the back half of the first, ending the period with a 16-8 shot advantage through 20 minutes. After allowing 18 shots on goal to the San Jose Sharks just a night before, the 16 shots allowed seemed a lot like more of the same, and outside a brief stretch at the beginning of the period, the puck was in Tampa Bay's end for most of the first frame.
The second period saw more of the same in the first, as both teams traded terrific scoring chances including one for each team on an early Tampa Bay power play, but both Bishop and Hiller made big saves to keep the score at 0-0.
A Bryan Allen covering the puck penalty sent the Lightning back to the power play for the fourth consecutive time partway through the second period, and yet the best chance again went to the Ducks as Ben Bishop stonewalled Andrew Cogliano on another shorthanded breakaway, the third of the game allowed by the Bolts.
The Ducks finally got a chance to work their own power play in the second half of the middle frame after penalties to Eric Brewer and Alex Killorn, but the Bolts' top-10 penalty kill went to work, killing off both advantages to send this game into the second intermission still tied at 0-0.
The referees -- determined to make their presence felt in this scoreless tie -- called a handful of questionable penalties that were head scratchers going both ways, but neither team could find the back of the net before the horn sounded for the end of the second period, but an iffy interference call at the end of the second put the Bolts on a power play that carried over to start the third.
Unfortunately, the Lightning couldn't get anything going again with the man advantage, falling to 0/5 on the power play for the night and keeping the game deadlocked at 0-0.
The teams traded chances for much of the rest of the third period, with both Hiller and Bishop making highlight reel saves (including on a pair of partial breaks for Tyler Johnson) but neither team could find twine in the first 60 minutes of the game, so on to a 4v4 overtime session the game went.
The 4v4 hockey opened things up even more, and just when things looked to be headed to the skills competition, Ryan Getzalf busted in 1-on-1 against Sami Salo with only seconds remaining, fired a shot of Bishop that looked to flip up and past Bishop off either Salo or Richard Panik. Bishop and Panik reached out to try and pull it off the goal line, but ended up punching it in the net instead, giving the Ducks a 1-0 lead in overtime and sending the wounded Lightning back home with just 1 point (0-3-1) in four games against the Pacific Division.
- Radko Gudas took a shot to the face in an early fight with Luca Sbisa, left the game, and later returned, but was spotted holding an ice pack up to this face. He later left the game for good, and was noticeably favoring his arm or shoulder on his last shift before being pulled from the game.
- Ben Bishop was simply fantastic after a couple of bad outings to start this road trip. He made 42 saves on 43 shots, including what seemed like bunches of saves at a time as the Ducks, like the Sharks, Kings, and Coyotes before them, got scoring chances seemingly at will against a depleted Lightning defense.
- The referees were keen to make an impact on this game, calling 13 minor penalties. Compare that to the three minors called last night in San Jose.
- The Lightning continue to struggle mightily to finish plays and score goals, as they finish the four-game road trip with just five goals for in 16 periods of hockey. Without Stamkos in the lineup, this team is being exposed as one without elite finishers capable of putting pucks in the back of the net.
- Not helping the offensive woes tonight was the power play, which came up empty on 6 opportunities (one of which was cut short due to a picking infraction on Valtterri Filppula). I'm not sure what the answer is -- maybe just wait it out and hope shooting percentage regresses upwards -- but the Lightning are right now, believe it or not, goal-starved.