One week after getting pummeled on Long Island, the Tampa Bay Lightning returned the favor.
The Lightning completely shut down the New York Islanders on Thursday night in a 4-1 victory that ended a five-game losing streak. One of those games was a 5-1 loss at the Nassau Coliseum in which the Islanders dominated virtually from the opening faceoff.
The Lightning then lost a home-and-home series to Florida, but the team that took the ice Thursday night played like the one that came within one victory of going to the Stanley Cup Final last spring.
"It was about discipline," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "Everybody was on the same page."
Ryan Malone, Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Brett Clark provided the offense. The defense was a team effort -- the Lightning limited the Isles to just 17 shots.
"Definitely, that's the way we want to play," Lecavalier said. "Last year we were successful because we played like that."
The Islanders, who hadn't played since Saturday, got a third-period goal from Michael Grabner but looked listless as they saw their three-game winning streak end. It was New York's first road game of the season.
"They outworked us," coach Jack Capuano said. "They had more desperation to their game. They got around our goaltender, and our forwards didn't get around their goaltender. And to me that was a huge difference in the game, their net presence versus our net presence."
After allowing five power-play goals in a 7-4 loss to Florida on Monday, the Lightning took three penalties Thursday, including one as the game ended.
The Lightning outshot the isles 14-6 in the first period and went in front when Malone whipped a rebound from the slot past Al Montoya at 16:32 for a power-play goal.
"All around we played better ... It feels good," Malone said.
Lecavalier made it 2-0 at 15:14 of the second, beating Montoya from the slot after a giveaway. Stamkos, playing in his 250th NHL game, gave the Lightning a three-goal lead at 5:25 of the third after another giveaway by the Isles.
"We controlled the puck in their end for the majority of the game," Stamkos said.
Grabner got the Isles on the board by beating Mathieu Garon at 7:55, but Clark's goal with 3:01 remaining ended any Isles' comeback hopes.
"Overall, we didn't play very good," Grabner said. "We didn't get enough pucks to the net in the first two periods. We've got to get better and get back to the little things ... Getting the puck to the net from every angle and get 30 or 40 shots every night."
Garon made three saves in the first period on John Tavares, who was held off the scoresheet after picking four points in each of his previous two games. Tavares' line generated most of what pressure the Islanders were able to put on Garon, but it wasn't nearly enough.
"No excuses, we know we have to be better, but we’re not going to let this fester too much," defenseman Steve Staios said. "We know that we have to play. We have to be ready for the next game. We’re not going to let this get us down. We’re just going to use it as motivation."
Information from team media was used in this report