Bishop stands tall against Senators

It was about the Old Man with the C and the Tall Man in the Crease Thursday as the Ottawa Senators failed to complete a much needed sweep of Florida.

Bishop stands tall against Senators
Bobby Ryan #6 of the Ottawa Senators and goalie Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning look at a rebound at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on December 5, 2013 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. — It was about the Old Man with the C and the Tall Man in the Crease Thursday as the Ottawa Senators failed to complete a much needed sweep of Florida.

Martin St. Louis, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s never-say-die, 38-year-old captain, scored twice to lead his injury-depleted squad to a 3-1 victory over the Senators. Valtteri Filppula provided third period insurance, beating Senators goaltender Robin Lehner.

Meanwhile, Ben Bishop, the 6-7 giant who is oh-so-familiar to Senators fans, took care of the other end of the ice, stoning his former teammates with 32 saves.

Bishop, who came into the game with a 14-5-1 record, a 2.03 goals against average and .932 save percentage, used every part of his body — including taking a pair of shots off the mask — in earning the victory.

In the process, he put a spotlight on the trade deadline deal last April, which saw Bishop go to the Lightning in exchange for Cory Conacher and a fourth-round draft pick. Conacher hasn’t scored in 23 games and has only two goals this season.

Bishop was the odd man out in what had been awkward three-goalie system with the Senators, with Craig Anderson and Lehner staying in Ottawa.

Lehner wasn’t nearly as busy as Bishop Thursday, facing only 22 shots.

The defeat, coupled with Toronto’s win over Dallas Thursday, once again leaves the Senators seven points out of a wild card playoff spot — exactly where they were when they left Ottawa for Florida on Monday.

Neither Bishop nor Lehner saw much action in the first period — Ottawa outshot the Lightning 8-5 there — but Bishop became the show in the second, stopping 17 of 18 shots.

After Patrick Wiercioch beat Bishop with a spinarama slap shot on a power play to tie the game 1-1, the Lightning goaltender stood, well, tall, in the Lightning net to keep the Senators from taking control of the game despite several power play chances and plenty of zone time inside the Tampa blueline.

When the Lightning received one of their few chances of the period, St. Louis pounced to net his second goal of the night, restoring Tampa’s lead.

It was almost a carbon copy of his first one, as he was left uncovered by Joe Corvo in the slot after Chris Phillips lost control of the puck behind the net. St. Louis took a pass from Ondrej Palat and beat Lehner low. The Lightning had only 12 shots through two periods.

St. Louis also struck first for the Lightning in a tight-checking first period which was marked by few shots and inefficient power plays.

Just like his on his second goal, St. Louis was left alone in front. Wiercioch fell in the corner, Jared Cowen sprawled at the side of the net to try and contain Palat. Palat fed St. Louis, who flipped a shot over Lehner’s pads.

The Lightning came into the game desperately searching for offence, having been shut out in their two previous games, including a 1-0 defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

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GAME FILE

WHY THEY LOST

Bishop was the better goaltender, but the Senators were also guilty of making some terrible defensive miscues to give momentum to the Lightning. The Lightning also closed the door with a strong third period.

CHEERS

Ben Bishop, Lightning. The former Senator did to Ottawa what he has done to just about every team he has faced this season. He stoned them time and again.

JEERS

Defensive breakdowns. Martin St. Louis was left all alone twice in prime scoring territory in front of Lehner, capitalizing on mistakes behind the Senators goal line.

MAKE IT AN EVEN 20

Martin St. Louis’ first period goal opened the scoring and marked the 20th time — in 29 games — that the Senators have yielded the first goal this season. After Thursday’s loss, the Senators are 6-11-3 in those games.

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