Skip to main content

Islanders-Lightning Preview

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

The New York Islanders were once again Ben Bishop's nemesis in the opening game of the Eastern Conference semifinals, but they remain humble entering their next matchup with the Vezina Trophy finalist.

The Islanders will seek to cause more woes for the Tampa Bay goaltender while taking a commanding lead over the Lightning on Saturday.

Bishop failed to make it through a start against the Islanders for the second straight time in Wednesday's series opener in Tampa, giving up four goals on 13 shots in a 5-3 defeat. John Tavares' power-play tally midway through the second period sent him to the bench, and Shane Prince scored twice in the opening 20 minutes.

"One of those nights where nothing goes your way. You just have to move on from it," Bishop said. "It's not about the last game. It's about the next one, so I need to focus on that."

Bishop is now 1-3-0 with a 5.00 goals-against average in four starts against the Islanders this season, his worst showing versus any opponent. That's in stark contrast to a 2.07 GAA in 67 overall games, including six in the playoffs.

"He's going to bounce back. He's a great goaltender. It's a long series,'' New York coach Jack Capuano said. "It's just one game. But whatever guy's in there, we've just got to continue to do what we need to do and get pucks and bodies to the net. Some of our shots had eyes. Again, you need some puck luck in this game if you're going to win, and we had that tonight."

The only other three times Bishop gave up more than three goals in 31 career playoff games all came in last year's East finals against the New York Rangers. He bounced back from the last two with shutouts, including one in Game 7.

Before Wednesday's loss, Bishop had allowed two goals or fewer in eight consecutive playoff games.

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

"I expect to be better," he said. "I'm not going to change the way I play. Some nights the puck just finds ways in, some nights maybe those don't go in. It's just one of those things where you stick with your structure and more times than not you'll be successful."

While hoping to see a rejuvenated Bishop, the Lightning will try to avoid heading to Brooklyn on Tuesday with their first 2-0 deficit since being swept by Montreal in the opening round in 2014.

"We had a lot of different experiences last year, and we were a resilient team then and we should be now," forward Brian Boyle said.

The Islanders, meanwhile, will go for a sixth win in seven games against the Lightning. Tavares has four of his team's 25 goals in that stretch and four assists.

Brock Nelson has four goals and five assists in his last seven matchups, and Prince has scored four of his nine career regular-season and playoff goals versus Tampa Bay.

"The team obviously that loses the game, I think always knows how important the next one is and not to lose two in a row," Tavares said. "We obviously expect their best, and we obviously want to raise our game, take it to another level and build off the first one."

It's unclear if New York will get defenseman Ryan Pulock back from an upper-body ailment that's kept him out of the past three games.

It's also unknown if Matt Carle, Erik Condra or Mike Blunden will join Steven Stamkos, Anton Stralman and J.T. Brown on the Lightning's injured list. All three are considered day to day.