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Goaltender Ben Bishop returns as Lightning beat Buffalo, 4-2

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Well, hello there, Ben Bishop.

And welcome back.

Bishop, who has been out since Dec. 20 with a lower body injury, finally returned to the lineup after missing the last nine games and two periods for the Tampa Bay Lightning. And Bishop played well, improving his record to 10-10-2 in a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

The win broke a four-game losing streak for the Bolts. Buffalo narrowed the lead to one goal in the third period, but the Lightning held on.

“I thought Bish had a lot to do with that,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “The saves he made. The way he played the puck. I don’t know how many he stopped behind the net.”

Ondrej Palat scored twice for Tampa Bay. Nikita Kucheerov scored his 17th, and Anton Stralman scored an empty netter.

“Palat was a beast,” Cooper said. “He was all over the ice.”

Bishop said he wasn’t particularly rusty “after that first goal.” He stopped 26 of 28 shots.

The Bolts are home tonight against Columbus.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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