NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 6th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (16-18-2) at New York Islanders (18-16-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The surging Tampa Bay Lightning will shoot for a fourth win in five games when they visit the New York Islanders for Saturday's battle at Nassau Coliseum.
The Lightning, who are 3-0-1 over their last four games, are tied for 13th in the Eastern Conference, but are only six points out of a playoff spot. Tampa is also only four points behind Washington and Winnipeg for first place in the Southeast Division.
Goaltender Ben Bishop's Tampa debut was an impressive one and the club hopes he can lead them back to the postseason after the Bolts missed out last spring. Bishop, acquired from the Ottawa Senators prior to Wednesday's trade deadline, made 45 saves for his second shutout of the season as the Lightning handled the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-0, in Thursday's game at PNC Arena.
Bishop stopped 16 shots in the first period, 12 in the second and 17 in the third to make an immediate impact for his new club.
Martin St. Louis had a goal and two assists for Tampa Bay. Benoit Pouliot added a goal and an assist, while Teddy Purcell, Tom Pyatt and Keith Aulie each scored a goal.
"We played a strong game. We played the way we wanted to play. It was fun out there," said St. Louis.
Thursday's win came at the start of a three-game road trip that is set to end Sunday in Washington. Tampa had lost three straight as the guest before beating the Hurricanes and is 6-11-0 on the road this season.
Nate Thompson is eligible to return Saturday for the Lightning after serving a two-game suspension for an illegal hit against New Jersey's Matt D'Agostini. The centerman has seven goals and four assists in 34 games this season.
The Islanders, who are six points ahead of Tampa in the East standings, are trying to end a five-season playoff drought. New York is tied with the Rangers for the conference's seventh seed and is just one point ahead of New Jersey.
New York is coming off a loss, but the Isles were able to pick up a point in Thursday's shootout setback in Washington. Alex Ovechkin put in the deciding goal during the shootout, as the Capitals recorded a 2-1 win over the visiting Islanders.
Kyle Okposo's marker with just under five minutes left in the third period enabled the Islanders to pick up an important point. Evgeni Nabokov finished with 21 saves for New York, which is 5-1-1 over its last seven games.
"We'll take the point on the road in a tough building to play in against a good hockey team," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said.
New York is playing two straight and four of its next five games on home ice. The Isles are 7-11-2 as the visiting team this season.
The Isles are 2-0 against the Lightning this year and can complete a sweep of the season series on Saturday. New York has taken six of eight overall from Tampa and the Lightning have dropped four straight and nine of 11 on Long Island.
04/06 10:54:36 ET