UNIONDALE, N.Y. - The New York Islanders broke out of one slump and forced the Tampa Bay Lightning to continue with another.
Rick DiPietro turned aside 28 shots for his 12th career shutout and added an assist to help the New York Islanders beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 on Thursday night. It was the Islanders' first win over Tampa Bay in nine tries (0-5-3), since a 3-0 win at home on March 21, 2004.
Bill Guerin, Josef Vasicek, Ruslan Fedotenko and Trent Hunter scored for the Islanders, but it was DiPietro who starred. He bounced back from giving up six goals in just more than 30 minutes on Saturday night in a loss to Carolina.
"The last game against Carolina, we didn't come out the way we wanted to, myself included," DiPietro said. "The big thing was to come out and play a smart game, and we played smart and solid."
The Lightning got 28 saves from Marc Denis. Tampa Bay is still winless on the road (0-6-0), and have allowed 28 goals away from home.
Mike Sillinger, who played in his 1,000th NHL game, had an assist for the Islanders.
"Guys are calling me the old guy," Sillinger said. "Senior Guerin is the oldest."
"It's an honour to be in that 200-plus guys who have played 1,000 games," Sillinger added. "It's quite an accomplishment. Knock on wood, I've been healthy and played roughly 70 games a year, carrying into my 17th season. I've always stayed in shape."
DiPietro made the biggest save of the game nine minutes into the game when he gloved a rising wrist shot from in close by Jan Hlavac.
Denis didn't fare as well on Guerin's slap shot from the top of the left circle with 6:31 left in the first period. The puck went right between the goalie's pads for Guerin's fifth goal this season.
DiPietro earned the secondary assist on the goal, his eight career NHL assist.
Denis atoned for the goal with a solid left pad save on Miroslav Satan's backhand stuff attempt with 4:42 left in the period.
"Our first period was better for us offensively than the rest of this trip combined," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "That was our best period of the trip. DiPietro was the difference, and that was the difference in the game."
Forward Vincent Lecavalier agreed.
"We had some great chances in the first period," Lecavalier said. "We just can't seem to get a lead on the road. We're skating well. It's just not going our way."
Tampa Bay had control of the puck for a majority of the middle period, but it was New York who scored twice for a 3-0 lead.
Vasicek controlled the puck in the offensive zone, and sent it down low to Richard Park. He threw the puck out in front, where Satan's shot trickled toward the net. Vasicek gave the puck the final nudge over the goal-line at 12:19.
Fedotenko scored with 47.7 seconds left in the period when he led a rush by circling behind Denis. He passed across the crease to Mike Comrie, whose shot was blocked. Fedotenko came back to poke the loose rebound home.
"It's not like we're working hard - it's almost as though we're working too hard," Tampa Bay defenceman Shane O'Brien said. "We're squeezing our sticks right now."
New York added another goal six minutes into the final period on a delayed penalty call. Denis stopped Andy Sutton's blast, but the rebound ticked off a Lightning player and lay in the crease. Hunter buried the loose puck for his second goal of the season.
DiPietro's right post preserved the shutout when it blocked Paul Ranger's slap shot with 5:14 left.
"We hit a couple of posts, and had some bad bounces too," Lecavalier said. "Some nights, you're not going to play well, and you'll score five goals."
O'Brien is already worried about losing precious points this early in the season.
"We don't want to be in a position where we're six or eight points out of a playoff spot in January," O'Brien said. "That's tough to come back from. We're not going to make the playoffs if we can't win on the road."
Notes: Sillinger became the 223rd player to reach 1,000 games played for his career, and the fifth player to do so this season. ... Prior to Thursday night, the Lighting have taken 16 straight points out of Uniondale, while allowing the Islanders one point in that span. ... Lightning fan and Orlando resident Steve Williamson has embarked on a trip where he visits all 30 NHL arenas in 30 nights. Nassau Coliseum is the sixth on his list, which will end at the St. Pete Times Forum on Nov. 24.