NEW YORK (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning got a key piece back in their lineup and he proved to be the No. 1 star in a win over the New York Rangers.
No, top forward Steven Stamkos isn't ready to play yet, but Ben Bishop was on top of his game after a brief absence. Bishop made 33 saves in his return from injury and the Lightning cooled off the Rangers 2-1 on Tuesday night.
"We played solidly, and I felt no rust," Bishop said. "This was big for us coming into this building and playing well. It's a fun place to play. You have to be excited playing at Madison Square Garden."
Bishop was back in the net for the first time since he sprained his right wrist in the first period at Edmonton on Jan. 5. He missed three games before dressing as the backup to Anders Lindback on Monday at Columbus. He didn't play in the Lightning's 3-2 loss.
"He was probably our best player," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "When you're going on the road and trying to win a hockey game, it all starts with your goaltending. He gave us a chance to win."
Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov supplied all the offense, scoring goals 9 seconds apart early in the second period for Tampa Bay, 5-1-1 in the second half of back-to-back games.
Hedman got the Lightning even with a power-play goal, and Kucherov gave them the lead for good on a breakaway. Tampa Bay went 5-3 in a stretch in which it played seven of eight on the road.
"It's been tough, and I thought we've done a pretty good job," Bishop said.
Brad Richards scored for the Rangers, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves, but took the loss for New York, which was 8-2-1 in its previous 11.
"I thought we played a really strong game," Lundqvist said. "We created a lot of chances. It was a good hockey game, but we just came up a little short."
The Rangers got their first power play 6:37 into the third period, but Bishop was solid — stopping Mats Zuccarello in close. Bishop is 5-0 with a goals-against average under 1 against the Rangers.
"I like playing against the best," Bishop said. "Henrik is obviously one of the best goalies ever. It's fun to play against those guys. I don't think the record means much, but for now it's pretty nice."
New York had another advantage in the final 5 minutes but didn't score. The Rangers had netted a power-play goal in five straight contests.