Islanders-Lightning Preview

The lack of offense that has plagued the Tampa Bay Lightning all season remains, though it hasn't prevented them from a recent run of success at home.

They can thank Ben Bishop for that.

Bishop will almost certainly be back in net looking to continue his success at Amalie Arena on Saturday night when the New York Islanders visit.

Despite matching a season-best three-game win streak with Bishop in goal, the Lightning rested their No. 1 with games on back-to-back nights and started backup Andre Vasilevskiy on Friday at Washington.

That decision didn't pay off as the Capitals scored the game's first four goals and held on for a 4-2 victory, sending Tampa Bay to its sixth loss in eight road contests.

"You've got to be sharp and for whatever reason we didn't start the way we wanted to," forward Brian Boyle said. "I don't know if we were too respectful of some of their skill or what, but it wasn't our game for the first 50, 45 minutes."

Vasilevskiy faced 31 shots over the first two periods and finished with a season-high 33 saves, but the Lightning (11-10-3) have lost his last three starts compared to their 4-0-1 record in Bishop's past five - all at home. He's surrendered one goal or fewer four times in that span, posting a 1.36 goals-against average.

Bishop's success on home ice is not limited to this season. He's 53-14-7 with a 2.13 GAA in 76 games there since joining the Lightning in April 2013.

Tampa Bay has totaled 11 goals in its past four games, an improvement for a team that ranks near the bottom of the league with 2.33 per contest.

Besides a poor start, the Lightning's other big problem Friday was their usually reliable penalty-killing unit. They were beaten three times in four opportunities after their opponents went 5 for 49 in the previous 18 games.

"Our special teams were not good tonight and that's ultimately what cost us the game," coach Jon Cooper told the team's official website.

That may not be an issue against an Islanders power play that is 2 for 36 in 12 games this month. An opportunity that carried into overtime gave them a chance to improve those totals Friday at Florida, but they failed to convert and lost 3-2 in a shootout.

It was the third defeat in four games for New York (11-8-4), which did rally from a two-goal deficit in the third period.

"First and foremost we had a great comeback, a very hard-fought one point," said Ryan Strome, who scored in his first game after a demotion to the minors. "Pretty good team effort in the third to battle back."

In need of a spark, New York could get it with the possible return of defenseman Thomas Hickey, who has missed 15 games with a lower-body injury. He would likely replace veteran Marek Zidlicky in the lineup.

Jaroslav Halak rarely plays on back-to-back days so Thomas Greiss is the likely starter for the Islanders. Greiss has allowed three goals or fewer in each of his nine starts this season and made 32 saves in his only game against the Lightning, a 6-3 victory for Pittsburgh on Jan. 2.

The Islanders have earned at least a point in eight of the past nine (6-1-2) against Tampa Bay, winning the final two last season.

Bishop, though, is 3-0-1 with a 1.66 GAA in his last four meetings.

Promoted Stories

More NHL