Lightning-Capitals Preview

Ben Bishop is in his best form as he readies for an opponent he's had little success against.

Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning look to reverse their recent struggles against the Washington Capitals on Friday in a matchup of teams riding three-game winning streaks.

Tampa Bay (11-9-3) has yielded three goals over its last four games and Bishop two in winning the past three. After recording his first shutout with 30 saves Saturday against Anaheim, he made 37 in a 2-1 shootout victory over Los Angeles on Wednesday.

''Bish has been bailing us out when we needed him,'' coach Jon Cooper said. "We've been playing team defense pretty well, but he made some big-time saves. And for us to start stringing a couple wins together, we needed it. You're getting 2-1 against the Rangers (on Nov. 19) and 2-1 against L.A., but fortunately at least we're scoring two, because it seemed like not too long ago we weren't getting any."

The defending Eastern Conference champion Lightning rank 22nd with 2.35 goals per game and have been shut out in their last two road stops. They've scored one goal in Bishop's previous three away starts, all losses.

Tyler Johnson did give Tampa Bay's slumping offense a boost Wednesday, returning from a three-game absence caused by an upper-body injury to produce the team's regulation goal.

Washington (15-5-1) has had fewer problems scoring of late, generating 13 goals during its unbeaten run. Defenseman Dmitry Orlov has one in all three victories after scoring the game-winner late in the second period in Wednesday's 5-3 decision over Winnipeg.

Alex Ovechkin has three goals in four games and Justin Williams four in his last seven after managing two over his first 14. Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists against Winnipeg to extend his team-leading point total to 24, six of which have come during the win streak.

"I think for his age he's really matured as a player," center Nicklas Backstrom told the Capitals' official website of the 23-year-old Kuznetsov. "He's really responsible all over the ice. He's got his great skill too. He can do it all, and that's great for us. He's been playing great lately."

Washington has scored four or more goals in each win during a 7-1-1 stretch against the Lightning, with Ovechkin amassing nine goals and five assists. Backstrom compiled three goals and three assists as the Capitals won two of last season's three meetings.

Bishop has often bared the brunt of that barrage, owning a 3.96 goals-against average while going 1-4-1 in seven career matchups.

Counterpart Braden Holtby enters on a roll of his own, having recorded a 1.80 GAA over five consecutive wins that includes a 33-save shutout of Edmonton on Monday. He's been even better at home, registering a 1.65 GAA and .941 save percentage in winning six straight there.

The Lightning have lost six of seven in Washington and are 3-12-4 in their last 19 regular-season games at Verizon Center.

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