Isles first line propels 5-1 win over Lightning

John Tavares (4 points) leads the way; Al Montoya makes 34 saves

Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 11:06 PM / News
By Brian Croce
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Isles first line propels 5-1 win over Lightning
Entering tonight’s game, the Islanders’ top line had been held scoreless. However, the trio of John Tavares, Matt Moulson and PA Parenteau didn’t stay scoreless for very long after the puck was dropped on Thursday as they led the Islanders to a 5-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders started the night’s scoring when Tavares received a pass from Parenteau at the Tampa Bay blue line, streaked down the left side and threw a high shot Defenseman Victor Hedman went to swat the puck away from the goal, but errantly knocked it into the goal 36 seconds into the game.

P.A. Parenteau celebrates his first period goal in the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on October 13, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
It was Tavares’ first goal and point of the season. The Isles’ co-leading scorer likes what he saw from his team, but said there’s still room for improvement.

“I still think we can be a little better, but it’s early in the season,” Tavares said. “As a team we’re improving, and that’s a good thing, and we’re picking up some points.”

The Islanders improved to 2-1-0 with their second straight victory. The Lightning dropped to 1-2-1 on their five-game road trip, but showed glimpses of the team that made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last spring.

Some stellar Tampa Bay hand-eye coordination knotted the score at one in the first period. Marc-Andre Bergeron sent a puck toward traffic in front of Islanders goaltender, Al Montoya. Steven Stamkos got the blade of his stick on the puck to guide it through the legs of Montoya, as it appeared a back-and-forth game would ensue.

The Islanders lit the lamp three more times in the period, effectively changing the game’s momentum. Two-time 30-goal scorer Matt Moulson joined Tavares in the scoring column with his first goal of the season at the 9:28 mark. The Islanders first line struck again late in the period when Parenteau made a cross-ice pass to Moulson who passed through Roloson’s crease and found Tavares for the chip-in goal.

To cap off the perfectly scripted first period, Tavares corralled a loose puck in the offensive zone, froze the Lightning defensemen with his eyes and returned the favor to Parenteau by finding him all alone in front on the net for a quick one-timer.

The Islanders took a 4-1 lead into the first intermission.

Al Montoya and teammate Mark Eaton defend the net against Mattias Ritola on October 13, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Islanders head coach Jack Capuano was pleased with his top line’s performance.

“That line, with three pretty good players, were eventually going to get going for you,” Capuano said. “I just thought they worked hard tonight. They did a lot of good things and you get rewarded for that.”

Montoya made 34 saves on the night, improving his save percentage to .953 and earning his second victory of the year.

The Islanders take the ice again on Saturday when they host their cross-town rivals, the New York Rangers. Tampa Bay will finish their road trip on Saturday against the Florida Panthers.

Game Notes:
Tavares took a hard hit from Hedman early in the second period and took a few seconds to get up before slowly skating toward the bench. However, the Islanders young forward did not miss a shift.

Tampa Bay made a goalie change at the 6:47 mark of second period, bringing in Matthieu Garon to relieve Roloson.

Three Stars:
1. Tavares (2g/2a)
2. Moulson (1g/1a)
3. Montoya (34 saves)

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STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Okposo 71 27 42 -9 69
J. Tavares 59 24 42 -6 66
F. Nielsen 80 25 33 -11 58
J. Bailey 77 8 30 -8 38
B. Nelson 72 14 12 -10 26
M. Grabner 64 12 14 -10 26
T. Hickey 82 4 18 5 22
C. Clutterbuck 73 12 7 -9 19
C. McDonald 70 8 10 -22 18
R. Strome 37 7 11 -1 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
E. Nabokov 15 14 8 .905 2.74
K. Poulin 11 16 1 .891 3.29

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