TAMPA -- All it took was doing some of the little things for a change -- cutting back on stick penalties, doing a better job of controlling gaps on defense, and above all playing with heightened discipline.
The result was a big step forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
After five straight losses -- the first such losing streak under second-year head coach Guy Boucher -- the Bolts finally looked like the team that nearly made its way into the Stanley Cup Finals last year.
Playing with intensity and focus from start to finish, they dispatched the New York Islanders 4-1 just one week after getting overwhelmed by them 5-1 on the road. It was precisely what Tampa Bay needed to boost its sagging morale after starting the season 1-3-2 -- including an embarrassing 7-4 loss Monday night to the Florida Panthers at the grand re-opening of the St. Pete Times Forum with its dazzling 40-million facelift.
This time, the Lightning got it right.
The team outshot the Islanders 30-17 and improved...