Lightning-Islanders Preview


After a brutal road stretch, the Tampa Bay Lightning finally pulled out two points as the visiting club over the weekend.

While most teams would surely be looking forward to visiting last-place New York, the Islanders have dominated the Lightning on home ice of late.

Tampa Bay tries to snap a five-game losing streak at New York, which hopes to avoid dropping six straight at home for the first time in six seasons Tuesday night.

Tampa Bay (19-11-3) had been outscored 26-11 during an 0-5-2 road skid before winning 3-0 at Detroit on Sunday. Tyler Johnson, J.T. Brown, and Alex Killorn all scored in the third period and Ben Bishop made 28 saves for his NHL best-tying third shutout.

"We were on a little skid on the road and if you want to put yourself in a position to make the playoffs you have to win on the road," coach Jon Cooper told the team's official website. "We are a little below .500 on the road, but that was a big step and hopefully we can regain our legs and have a good one against New York on the Island."

The Lightning could have difficulty building on their latest effort against the Islanders, who are 10-2-0 in the series at home since 2007-08. New York, which has outscored Tampa Bay 20-8 during a five-game home winning streak, also took all three matchups overall last season.

The Islanders (9-19-6), though, have been among the league's worst teams over the last four weeks. Sitting at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, New York is 1-9-3 in its last 13, including an 0-2-3 skid at home.

The Islanders, who have been outscored 15-6 over that stretch, haven't dropped six in a row on their own ice since an 0-5-2 slide Jan. 3-Feb. 5, 2008.

New York is coming off Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Montreal, its third consecutive overtime home loss. The Islanders, who are 4 for their last 48 on the power play after going 0 for 3, dropped to 1-16-4 when scoring two goals or fewer.

Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves in his first game back since suffering a groin injury in a 5-4 shootout win over Detroit on Nov. 16, New York's most recent home victory.

"The guys did a hell of a job around the net and in the neutral zone," he said. "It was a tight game. We did a lot of good things defensively."

Nabokov has gone 2-2-4 at home while compiling a 2.67 goals-against average, more than full goal lower than his road mark of 3.75. He is 5-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA and one shutout in his last six games against the Lightning.

"Having him and his voice in our room is an extension of the coaching staff," coach Jack Capuano said. "He's been around a long time and it's great to have him back around the team."

Bishop, among the NHL leaders with a 1.97 GAA, has posted an even more impressive 1.34 mark in his last eight games. He has allowed one or zero goals in three of his last four road starts.

Bishop is 1-2-0 with a 3.69 GAA against New York. He will need to be wary of Islanders captain John Tavares, who has 16 points during a 12-game stretch versus Tampa Bay.

Tavares leads the team with 13 goals and 24 assists. New York is 5-1-0 at home when he scores compared to 0-5-6 when he doesn't.