Bishop stops 19 shots, Lightning blank Flames 2-0

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 4, 2014 at 1:28 am •  Published: January 4, 2014

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Ben Bishop is having a breakout season, Olympic nod or not.

The 6-foot-7 goalie made 19 saves in his fourth shutout Friday night, sending the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames.

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.

Bishop has earned points in 10 straight games (8-0-2) and is 22-5-2 this season. He is tied with Boston's Tuukka Rask for the NHL lead in shutouts and is one back of Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury for the most wins.

"That might have been one of our best games of the year from start to finish," Bishop said. "Seemed like we had the puck most of the game. The big thing tonight is we never took our foot off the gas. We played a full 60 minutes."

Bishop, who has seven shutouts in 76 career games, shrugged off any disappointment about not being named to the U.S. Olympic team on Wednesday.

"I just want to go out there and play my game. I thought the guys did a great job in front of me, made it easy on me," he said.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper complimented Bishop for how he's handled the situation after the three goalies selected by USA Hockey for the Sochi Games next month were Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick, Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Detroit's Jimmy Howard.

Bishop has the NHL's top save percentage at .936 and ranks third with a 1.83 goals-against average.

"I understand the decision USA Hockey made, I completely do. They went with some experienced guys that had proven track records," Cooper said. "I'm really happy with the way he's responded. I'm sure a lot of guys would hang their head and say, 'Poor me,' and all he's done is elevate his game. It's a testament to his character."

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.

"We're not good enough. We've got to find a way to generate more," captain Mark Giordano said. "Every mistake right now is magnified because we're not scoring goals. We're wasting pretty good efforts from our goaltenders."