TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop had not played against Toronto all season.
The Maple Leafs probably wish he had rested Monday night, too.
Bishop made 34 saves and blanked the Leafs for the first time in his career to help Tampa Bay beat Toronto 3-0 and move into a tie with the Florida Panthers atop the Atlantic Division.
Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, and Mike Blunden and Ondrej Palat also scored. Steven Stamkos and Erik Condra each had two assists.
Bishop posted his sixth shutout of the season and 18th of his career.
“One of his bests, for sure,” Stamkos said. “(He had) some extremely high-quality saves, which in return is lack of defensive coverage for us.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy started the four prior meetings for Tampa Bay against Toronto and went 3-1.
Tampa Bay and Florida each have 93 points, and the Panthers face Toronto on Tuesday night.
The Leafs, last in the league with 65 points, did not play like the worst team in the NHL in this one.
“We were lucky (Bishop) stood on his head,” Hedman said. “We needed that. We’ll work on some things to clean up.”
Up 2-0 after one period, Tampa Bay added to the lead when Hedman took Stamkos’ feed and beat Garret Sparks high to the blocker side at 6:38 of the second.
Bishop made crucial stops on Milan Michalek and Nazem Kadri in one sequence while the Leafs outshot the Lightning 14-4 in the second period.
“Anything (Bishop) doesn’t see just seems to hit him, and square to the corners,” said Kadri, who had a team-high six shots on goal. “He’s done a good job getting in front of it.”
Toronto owns the league’s worst road power play and missed on all seven of its chances with the man advantage.
“The penalty kill did a great job and we were able to score when we had chances,” said Bishop, who had 27 stops through two periods. “Wins are not going to be Picassos, so we’ll take it and run with it.”
After ceding the game’s first seven shots, the Lightning opened the scoring. Condra negated an icing call, and then fed Blunden in the slot for a snap shot at 7:34 of the first.
“We carried the play early and then they scored a couple, and I thought we sagged,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “We had a real good second, still had chances in the third.”
After serving a tripping penalty, Palat added to Tampa Bay’s lead at 14:29 when he swatted a rebound between Sparks’ legs.
Bishop did not need much more after that.
“There are team shutouts and goalie shutouts,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “Let’s take a guess which shutout that one was. Bish stole the show.”
NOTES: Stamkos has five goals and four assists during a current six-game point streak. … Valtteri Filppula returned to the Lightning lineup, but forwards Ryan Callahan and Nikita Kucherov remained out with lower-body injuries. … Toronto is 11 for 115 on the power play on the road. … Tampa Bay plays Montreal on Thursday, the fifth contest in a six-game homestand.