NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 14th
(All times Eastern)
New York Islanders (11-12-3) at Tampa Bay Lightning (11-14-1), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to record consecutive wins
for the first time in nearly a month when they host the New York Islanders in
The Lightning have gone through some tough times since early February, losing
14 of 19 games during a 5-13-1 stretch. The club won back-to-back games on
just one occasion during the swoon, beating Florida and Toronto on Feb. 16 and
After beginning the season with a 6-1-0 mark, the Lightning have fallen all
the way to 12th in the Eastern Conference, where they are currently tied with
Buffalo. However, Tampa Bay is still only five points out of a playoff spot.
The Islanders, meanwhile, are 3-1-1 in five games this month and are two
points ahead of Tampa in the East standings.
Tampa Bay ended a two-game slide and won for just the second time in nine
games with Tuesday's close regulation win at Florida. Steven Stamkos notched
his league-leading 20th goal of the season 5 1/2 minutes into the third period
and it proved to be the game-winner in the 3-2 decision. The former No. 1
overall pick has tallied in three straight games and has six goals over his
last six games.
Martin St. Louis totaled a goal and two assists, with Vinny Lecavalier
chipping in a score and a helper for the Lightning.
"All that we have been talking about is getting a win, so we found to get a
win," Stamkos said. "Some games you deserve to win and you don't, and some
times you don't deserve to win and your goalie keeps you in it and get's you
win and tonight we got a win."
Anders Lindback stopped 37 of the 39 shots he faced in the triumph and is
expected to get another start on Thursday.
The Bolts lost forward Tom Pyatt to an upper-body injury on Tuesday and he is
questionable for this contest. Pyatt has five goals and five assists in 26
games this season.
Thursday's tilt against the Islanders marks the start of a three-game
residency at Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Lightning, who are 6-6-1 as the host
this season, will also welcome Carolina and Philadelphia during the homestand.
New York has won two of three and five of its last seven meetings against the
Lightning and the Isles posted a 4-3 regulation decision when the clubs met at
Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 21. Tampa Bay has fared well on home ice in this
series, however, claiming two straight and six of the past nine encounters at
Despite winning three of five games in March, the Isles have lost two of their
last three, including Sunday's 6-1 blowout loss in Pittsburgh. Chris Kunitz
registered the fourth hat trick of his career to lead the way for the Penguins
in the rout.
Brad Boyes had the lone goal for New York, which had a string of five
consecutive tests with at least one point end. Evgeni Nabokov made just 12
saves on 17 chances before being pulled in favor of Kevin Poulin to begin the
"Our discipline wasn't really good," said Isles head coach Jack Capuano.
"They've got the fourth-best power play in the league and you can't get behind
two or three goals to this team. Right off the bat, the undisciplined
penalties we took killed us. We went to the box three straight times and they
capitalized on it."
The Islanders fell to 6-4-1 as the guest this season and are playing the
middle test of three-game road trip on Thursday. New York will complete the
swing Saturday at Florida.
03/14 11:02:38 ET