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Filppula, Lightning come back to defeat Islanders in shootout
Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - With Valtteri Filppula scoring a pair of goals late in the third period to spark an improbable comeback, the Tampa Bay Lightning extended the New York Islanders' recent misery with a 3-2 shootout victory at Nassau Coliseum.
The Lightning trailed 2-0 with under three minutes remaining in regulation before Filppula's heroics, with the second goal coming with just 3.8 seconds left to play. He also had one of Tampa Bay's two tallies during the shootout, with Nikita Kucherov accounting for the eventual game-winner in the second round.
Ben Bishop helped the Lightning to a second straight road win after a seven- game skid as the visitor by making 32 saves.
"We passed up too many shots tonight, but the boys stuck with it and we probably stole a couple points tonight," said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.
Evgeni Nabokov finished with 34 saves for New York, but faltered late as the Islanders fell to 1-9-4 over their last 14 outings. Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen each potted goals in the loss.
The Islanders appeared to be well on their way to only a second triumph in the last month, but a giveaway from Nielsen in his own zone led to Filppula firing home a wrister from the right slot that pulled the Lightning within 2-1 with 2:53 left in the third period.
With Bishop pulled for an extra attacker, Tampa Bay frantically pressured the New York goal over the final stages of regulation and were rewarded for the effort, as Filppula backhanded a loose puck that trickled just past Nabokov's outstretched glove with barely enough time to spare.
"The first goal I got was a lucky one," Filppula said. "I was surprised I got the puck, but I was happy it went in. "On the second one there was a lot of guys in front of the net and I just stayed out of the pile hoping the puck would make its way out and to me."
Filppula struck again as the Lightning's initial shooter in the deciding phase, though Nielsen tied it by beating Bishop glove-side with a backhand try to open the second round. Kucherov got Nabokov to open his pads and put Tampa Bay back ahead, however, and Bishop sealed it by closing off the left side on John Tavares' chance.
"When you play the right way for 57 minutes and you don't get the result, it's frustrating, especially the way that happened tonight," said Okposo.
Bishop came up with 12 saves, including a point-blank stop of Josh Bailey on a breakaway, to keep the contest scoreless after one period. The Islanders cashed in on a power-play opportunity just moments into the second, however, to break the deadlock.
With Thomas Vanek setting a successful screen in front, Okposo wound up and fired a screaming point shot that made its way in just 11 seconds into the session.
Nabokov also had a busy opening frame in which he turned away all 13 Tampa Bay chances, then later helped kill off a New York penalty early in the third that maintained the Isles' one-goal edge.
New York was able to gain some breathing room just past the midway mark of the final period, when Michael Grabner started a 2-on-1 with Nielsen that ended with the latter ripping a shot over Bishop's right shoulder with 9:39 to go.
Tampa Bay stopped a three-game losing streak in the series and had gone 0-4-1 over its last five visits to Nassau Coliseum. The Lightning's most recent win there came on Nov. 17, 2010 ... Tampa Bay improved to 5-1 in shootout games this season ... The Islanders fell to 0-16-5 when scoring less than three times ... Nielsen's goal was his first in 13 games since last scoring Nov. 19 at Toronto ... Islanders center Casey Cizikas missed his second straight game with a broken jaw suffered in a loss at Phoenix last Thursday.
12/17 23:31:00 ET