New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Islanders look to carry recent success into three-game homestand
Tuesday, 12.6.2011 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
|Team Record: 8-11-5
Last Game: 5-4 W @ DAL
Season Series: 1-1-0 of 4
|Team Record: 11-13-2
Last Game: 4-2 L @ OTT
Season Series: 1-1-0 of 4
Already leading the Islanders in time-on-ice per game, Captain Mark Streit has taken on an increased role in Andrew MacDonald’s absence and has thus increased his average time on ice by nearly two minutes in the last two games. Streit has filled MacDonald’s void on the blue line, taking on opponent’s top lines by pairing with sophomore blue liner Travis Hamonic.
As Streit continues to be a staple on the Islanders top power play unit, he’s been asked to step up on the Islanders penalty kill, averaging 1:54 of ice time in the last two games. In the five games prior to MacDonald’s injury, Streit had played anywhere between zero and 45 seconds on the penalty kill and was fifth on the team in shots blocked. He has since jumped to fourth in that two-game span, blocking 35 total shots this season.
MacDonald was injured while blocking a shot with just seconds left on the clock in the Isles 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres last Tuesday. On Monday, he was placed on the IR retroactive to Nov. 29 and is expected to miss the next 2-4 weeks with a right leg injury.
| Steven Stamkos
As the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to struggle, Steven Stamkos has been one of the only regular contributors for the Bolts. The fourth-year pro has posted five goals and five assists in his current seven-game point streak, as the Bolts have strung together a 1-5-1 record.
Stamkos' 16 goals this season are tied for the league lead while his 27 points have him tied for 10th on the league's scoring leaderboard.
Martin St. Louis
His linemate, Martin St. Louis, is tied for second on the team's scoring chart with 8 goals and 13 assists for 21 points. However, the 14-year-pro has only strung together three goals and two assists in the Bolts last seven contests.
When the Isles and the Bolts faceoff on Tuesday night, Tampa Bay will have flown from Ottawa the night before to complete their second game of a four-game road trip. Meanwhile, after four-games on the road, the Islanders return to Nassau Coliseum for their first of a three-game homestand.
"Look around the dressing room, it’s fun," Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic said. "Guys are in a good mood, guys are smiling. Winning is contagious and we’ve been playing well. But I think, even when we weren’t getting the wins, the confidence was just building in here. Sometimes you need to go through those situations to come out on the other end."
On the road, the Islanders recorded a 3-0-1 record, earned 7-of-8 possible points and scored nine goals in their last two games, though both of those games was decided by just one goal.
"It seemed that both games this weekend, the game got tight and the game got close and it could have went either way," Hamonic said. "We grabbed the ball and tried to really throw it and keep it in our side of the court. Those are the games that you have to learn to win. By no means have I said that we’ve learned how to do it, but we’re learning and it’s nice to see. We are getting rewarded and guys are enjoying themselves."
The Isles and Lightning couldn't be in more different situations at the moment. Currently, the Islanders are feeling extremely confident and are happy that they're improving, but Tampa Bay have dropped their last four games and have posted a 3-8-0 record in their last 11 games.
"We know how they play and we are going to be ready for them," Hamonic said. "We’ve played them a couple times already this year. We’re looking forward to that opportunity and they are a good team, so it’s a good test for us right now. They play (Monday night) in Ottawa, so we’ll make sure that we jump on them right away."
Matt Moulson is one of the main reasons the last-place New York Islanders are on a modest roll.
They'll try to carry their momentum back to Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night when they host the sputtering Tampa Bay Lightning.
Moulson leads the Islanders (8-11-5) with 13 goals, netting seven of them during a just-completed 3-0-1 road trip.
The left wing came one goal shy of a single-game club record Saturday, scoring four in a 5-4 win at Dallas.
"I probably owe a lot of it to my linemates (center John Tavares and right wing P.A. Parenteau)," Moulson told the Islanders' official website. "They did more than I did out there. It was a good win for the team. That's the biggest thing.
"I just try to go out there and score as many as I can and try to help the team win."
However, while Moulson has nine goals and three assists in 11 games away from Long Island, he's failed to record a point in his last three home contests - all New York losses. For the season, the Isles are 6-3-3 when Moulson records a point and 2-8-2 when he's held off the scoresheet (Continue Reading)
The last time the Islanders and the Lightning crossed paths was Oct. 20 in Tampa Bay; the Bolts came away with a 4-1 win as Michael Grabner scored the lone Islanders goal at 7:55 of the third period. Ryan Malone started the scoring in the first period with a power play goal, Vincent Lacavalier carried the Bolts into the second and Steven Stamkos put the Lightning ahead 3-0 before Grabner's tally and Brett Clark capped the win with a goal at 16:59 of the third.
IslandersPower Play %: 17.5%
Penalty Kill %: 81.2%
Home Record: 5-6-2
Road Record: 3-5-3
Goals For: 52
Goals Against: 78
LightningPower Play %: 15.9%
Penalty Kill %: 83.5%
Home Record: 7-4-0
Road Record: 4-8-2
Goals For: 67
Goals Against: 80
(Answer from 12/03: 1006 days. Due the to the 2004-05 lockout and a 2005-06 schedule that stressed divisional games, the Isles and Stars went 2 years 9 months and 5 days between games.)
Check out the Islanders depth chart. Head Coach Jack Capuano said that Andrew MacDonald, Michael Grabner and Rick DiPietro are out, Micheal Haley and Tim Wallace are in, Kevin Poulin to back up Al Montoya.
Lightning (Expected) LineupsForwards: Downie-Stamkos-St. Louis, Malone-Lecavalier-Purcell, Shannon-Moore-Connolly, Pyatt-Thompson-Tyrell
Defensemen: Brewer-Hedman, Clark-Gervais, Bergeron-Gilroy
Goaltenders: Garon, Roloson
Expected scratches: Angelidis, Hall, Jones, Ritola
Islanders Center John Tavares on the goal-scoring success of Matt Moulson and his line: "We are a line that likes to create chances and create opportunities, so whether it’s one of the three, we are always trying to benefit each other and finish off our opportunities and know that any of us can get the job done when we get the opportunities."
Islanders defensemen Travis Hamonic on the team's success on their road trip: "This league is tough to play on the road. It’s tough to go into the other teams buildings and they are getting their matchups and changing last. You got to play against the other team’s crowds. It’s huge whenever you can go through three games on the road, win two, lose the other one in a shootout. The shootouts can go either way and it’s a momentum builder and a lot of times you want to win most of your games on the road and a majority at home. We got to start winning at home and using our home crowd and our great fans to our advantage, really just make sure that we come out firing right out of the start tomorrow night."
Cory Wright contributed to this report