JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Ben Bishop earned a shutout in his debut with Tampa Bay and the Lightning routed the reeling Carolina Hurricanes 5-0 on Thursday night.
Bishop, acquired a day earlier from Ottawa in exchange for promising rookie Cory Conacher, stopped a career-high 45 shots.
Teddy Purcell, Tom Pyatt and Keith Aulie scored during the Lightning’s three-goal second period.
Martin St. Louis had a goal and two assists, NHL points leader Steven Stamkos had two assists, and Benoit Pouliot added a goal and an assist to help Tampa Bay earn points for the fourth straight game.
The Lightning moved into a tie with Carolina for third in the mediocre Southeast Division.
Dan Ellis stopped 25 shots for the reeling Hurricanes. Since they led Washington 2-0 on March 14 — a game they went on to lose 3-2 — they have been outscored 42-15 while dropping 10 of 11 games.
Bishop became the latest goalie to beat them. He earned his third career shutout and second of the season while improving to 5-1 in his last six games.
Bishop’s imposing 6-foot-7 frame between the pipes proved impossible to beat for a Carolina team that has lost 11 of 15 games against the Southeast and was blanked for the third time and first since Feb. 26 at Washington.
The Lightning, who improved to 4-0 against the Hurricanes this season with all three victories coming by at least three goals, welcomed back captain Vincent Lecavalier, who missed nine games with an unspecified lower body injury.
He didn’t score — but then again, he didn’t need to. Not with his teammates striking so often in the second period.
Purcell started it just 26 seconds in when he tapped the rebound of Matthew Carle’s shot from the blue line. Pyatt made it 2-0 with 4:05 left in the second when he redirected Alex Killorn’s shot past Ellis moments after a faceoff. And Aulie capped it with a shot that clicked off the crossbar and in with 42.4 seconds left.
Two distressing trends continued during that brutal 20-minute stretch for the Hurricanes. They’ve given up a goal in the first minute of the second period in two straight games and gave up a goal in the final minute of a period three times in two games.
And it came after the Hurricanes blew a prime chance to take a lead in the final minute of the first.
Alexander Semin stole the puck from Dana Tyrell to start a 2-on-1 break. But Semin clearly kicked Eric Staal’s give-and-go feed into the net and a quick video review took the goal off the board.
NOTES: The Lightning also hit the iron three times. … Carle also finished with two assists for Tampa Bay. … The Hurricanes have lost six straight at home. … Carolina C Tuomo Ruutu returned after missing two games with a lower body injury. He skated on the Hurricanes’ No. 2 line with C Jordan Staal and LW Jeff Skinner.
Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at @JoedyAP.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.