Trent Hunter and Nate Thompson both scored, but Ryan Malone tallied two goals in the third period to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Islanders, 4-2.
With both teams tied at two goals to start the third period, Malone gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead 2:48 into the third period on the power play for his 17th goal of the season. With Jack Hillen in the penalty box serving a delay of game penalty, the Tampa power play set themselves up. Roloson stopped an initial Stamkos slapshot, however the rebound came right out to Malone, who wasted no time in firing it behind Roloson for the one-goal Tampa lead.
Malone struck again nine minutes later with his second goal of the game on the power play. Thiry-nine seconds after Andy Sutton got called for interference, Malone parked himself in front of Roloson and was fed an easy centering pass by St. Louis. Malone one-timed the pass behind Roloson for the 4-2 Tampa lead.
It was the third straight game the Islanders have given up more than two power play goals in a game.
"I think it's a lesson learned about by watching their power play and how they move the puck around," Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon said. "They dont stand still."
Malone has been an "Islander-killer" throughout his career, notching 17 goals and 7 assists in 31 games during his time between the Penguins and Lightning.
"I think the third period we didn't come out with the urgency that we did in the first two periods," Thompson said. "It came down to special teams again. It's like a broken record."
Trent Hunter got the Islanders on the scoreboard first with 3:13 left in the first period on the power play.
With Steve Downie in the penalty box serving a hooking penalty, Jack Hillen sent a pass behind the Tampa net to Josh Bailey. Bailey located an open Hunter with a centering, who parked his big frame in front of the Lightning net and one-timed it past Tampa Bay goaltender Mike Smith for the 1-0 Islanders lead and his sixth goal of the season.
It was the first power play goal the Islanders have scored in 20 opportunities.
Tampa Bay had the first good scoring chance 4:15 into the opening period. Steven Stamkos took a lead pass from Martin St. Louis just outside the Islanders blue line and cut behind Mark Streit. The former number one pick cut across Islanders goaltender Dwanye Roloson, only to fire a shot off the right goal post to keep the game scoreless.
Roloson made what could be consider "save of the year" status just two minutes later when a Tampa dump-in took an odd carom off the glass. Roloson went behind the net to play the puck, however the puck took an odd hop and cut through the Islanders crease with no one manning the cage. As Roloson frantically darted to the crease, Downie had what looked to be an easy put-in. However, Roloson reached out with with his goal stick as he skated too far and swept it out before the puck could cross the goal line.
Roloson wasnt done yet as the rebound landed on Todd Fedoruk's stick. In another frantic dash to regain position, Fedoruks empty-net shot was denied by the pads of an outstretched Roloson, who had to grab onto the crossbar to keep his balance. The puck laid on the goal line as Roloson hung from the crossbar, the Islanders goaltender calmly shoved the puck out as the referee signaled "no-goal."
Steven Stamkos tied the game up at 6:20 of the second period with his 21st goal of the season. Martin St. Louis led a two-one-rush with Stamkos streaking down the middle of the ice. All the former number draft pick had to do was stick out his stick, deflecting St. Louis' pass over the shoulder of Roloson to tie the game up at 1-1. Ryan Malone received a secondary assist on the play.
Nate Thompson reclaimed the Islanders one-goal lead with 3:35 left in the second period with his first goal of the season. Thompson was streaking down the right side of the Tampa net, as Kyle Okposo fed a saucer pass over to him. After taking two strides, Thompson fired a wrist shot pad Smiths left leg to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead.
It was Thompson's first goal since November 28, 2008.
Vincent Lecavalier evened things right up at 2-2 with 18 seconds left in the second period with his ninth goal of the season. Just after John Tavares emerged from the penalty box, Alex Tanguay fed a saucer pass over to an open Lecavalier. The Tampa captain used Mark Streit as a screen and fired a laser over Roloson's glove hand to bring both teams even at 2-2.
"All that stuff has it's effect," Andy Sutton said. "We were in good position to come out and have a good period in the third. But that combined with the goal to start the third was a big blow to us."
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Ryan Malone, TAM: Two goals, two assists 2. Steven Stamkos, TAM: Goal, assist 3. Nate Thompson, NYI: First goal of the season.
Slapshots: Islanders outshot Tampa Bay, 38-28...Trent Hunter and Matt Moulson led all Islanders with 6 shots...Jeff Tambellini and Freddy Meyer (both healthy) were the Islanders scratches...Islanders were 1-for-6 on the power play, while Tampa Bay were successful twice on four man advantages...This was the second meeting between both teams, with Tampa Bay taking the first game, 4-0 at the St. Pete Times Forum earlier this month...Islanders hold an all-time record of 31-31-7 against Tampa Bay.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
13 Alex Tanguay - 4 Vincent Lecavalier - 11 Jeff Halpern
12 Ryan Malone - 91 Steven Stamkos - 26 Martin St. Louis
38 Paul Szczechura - 49 Blair Jones - 19 Stephane Veilleux
17 Todd Fedoruk - 43 James Wright - 9 Steve Downie
14 Andrej Meszaros - 5 Mattias Ohlund
77 Victor Hedman - 6 Kurtis Foster
32 Matt Smaby - 21 David Hale