The stars were out to shine in the sunshine state as Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier each tallied a goal and Steven Stamkos buried two, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 victory over the Islanders. Matt Moulson and Jon Sim tallied the goals for the Islanders in the contest, who see their record drop to 23-26-8, leaving them with 54 points and claim to the 13th spot in the Eastern Conference.
Tampa Bay took the 1-0 lead, 14:15 into the first period on a power-play goal from Steven Stamkos. Lightning defenseman Kurtis Foster took a pass from Martin St. Louis at the center point position and dished the puck to the left circle where Stamkos was positioned. Stamkos opened his stance up and unloaded a one-timer over the right shoulder of Islanders’ starter Dwayne Roloson to open the scoring with his 30th goal of the season, extending his point-scoring streak to eight games.
Moulson was the recipient of a fortuitous bounce to score his 21st goal of the season and tie the game at 1-1. With Mark Streit crashing the net, Moulson wristed a shot on goal that deflected off the back of Lightning defenseman, Andrej Meszaros and past Tampa Bay starting goalie, Antero Niitymaki. Bruno Gervais had the only assist on the goal, coming just over a minute after Tampa Bay broke the scoreless tie.
It was the Islanders taking their first lead of the road-trip at the halfway mark of the second period. Sim, always taking the beating in front to try and chip in a goal, ripped his eighth goal of the season over Niitymaki’s blocker to give the Islanders the 2-1 lead. Doug Weight and Richard Park had the assists on the goal.
Within a minute after Sim’s goal, the Lightning would tie and then regain the lead at 3-2 on goals from St. Louis and Lecavalier. St. Louis was first, taking a pass from Stamkos as he came out from behind the net at the left post and snapped a shot under the arm of Roloson for his 18th tally of the season. Lecavalier was next 36 seconds later when he was the lucky recipient of a two-on-none with Alex Tanguay. Roloson had no chance as Tanguay zipped a quick pass to Lecavalier in the right circle where he one-timed the puck past his left pad for his 15th goal of the season.
Stamkos put the game out of reach in the third period, ripping a slap-shot past Roloson’s glove to give the Lightning the commanding 4-2 lead. Steve Downie and Mike Lundin had the assists on Stamkos’ second of the game and 31st of the season.
Alex Tanguay would add an empty-net marker with less than a minute to play, finishing the game’s scoring at 5-2. Stephane Veilleux and Lecavalier had the assists on Tanguay’s ninth goal of the season.
Niitymaki was named the second star of the game, turning aside 34 of the 36 shots he faced. Roloson had 27 saves in the game for the Islanders. Tampa Bay was 1-for-3 on the power-play while the Islanders went 0-for-4.
Thursday’s contest against the Lightning concludes the Islanders’ four-game road-trip that has extended over nine days, the longest of the season. Saturday, the Islanders will return to the Coliseum ice against the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m. For tickets or information on how to receive a group-discounted rate for any upcoming home games, contact the team’s front office at (516) 501-6700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Steven Stamkos – What a year makes as Stamkos is playing with incredible confidence and scoring twice and adding an assist
2. Antero Niitymaki – Makes 34 saves to earn the win
3. Martin St. Louis – Scores a goal and an assist
Honorable Mention: Jon Sim – Continuously going to the net for loose pucks and is rewarded with his eighth goal of the season
Can I have your Autograph: When the Islanders arrived to their team hotel in Tampa Bay yesterday afternoon, the usual autograph seekers were there. In the crowd however was a familiar face, Nate Thompson. The former Islander forward who was picked up on waivers last month is staying at the same hotel and greeted his former teammates as they stepped off the bus. A feel-good reunion as Thompson had to forget about the friendships he’d made over the past year and a half and got to battle against the Islanders.
SCORE!: Coming into the Islanders game Thursday night in Tampa Bay, they had not scored a goal in Florida in their last two games. The Islanders were in Tampa Bay on December 5 and lost 4-0. On Sunday the Islanders returned to the sunshine state and took on the Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center and were beaten 2-0.
Month Off: It is something that he has not wanted to do, but Islanders’ forward Jeff Tambellini made his return to the lineup Thursday for the first time since January 2 against the Atlanta Thrashers. Not many players could have been able to sit out so many games and have such a positive attitude. Tambellini was always the last guy off the ice in practices during the month and Thursday, after the unfortunate loss of Josh Bailey, he was able to join his teammates in game action.
Forwards 19 Stephane Veilleux – 4 Vincent Lecavalier – 13 Alex Tanguay
9 Steve Downie – 91 Steven Stamkos – 26 Martin St. Louis
12 Ryan Malone – 44 Nate Thompson – 11 Jeff Halpern
17 Todd Fedoruk – 28 Zenon Konopka – 6 Kurtis Foster
5 Mattias Ohlund – 39 Mike Lundin
32 Matt Smaby – 77 Victor Hedman
14 Andrej Meszaros – 8 Matt Walker
30 Antero Niitymaki (starter)
41 Mike Smith
Martin St. Louis
1 - 0 TBL
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 NYI
Martin St. Louis
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 TBL
4 - 2 TBL