Islanders-Lightning Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 13, 2013
While it wasn't pretty, the Tampa Bay Lightning picked up a much-needed two points their last time out. The New York Islanders are coming off one of their ugliest defeats of the season. Seeking back-to-back wins for the first time in almost a month, the Lightning try to snap their recent home woes Thursday night against the Islanders. After a brutal 1-7-0 stretch, Tampa Bay (11-14-1) got back on track Tuesday with a 3-2 victory at Florida. Martin St. Louis extended his point streak to seven with a goal and two assists and Steven Stamkos notched his NHL-leading 20th tally. The Lightning were outshot 39-13, but Anders Lindback had arguably his best game of the season with 37 saves and helped hold the Panthers scoreless on four power-play opportunities. "Some games you deserve to win and you don't and some games you don't and your goalie keeps you in it," said Stamkos, who has 13 goals and seven assists over his last 13 games. "At this point of the season, the way some games have gone when we played well, you take it, you learn from it, you take the two points and get out of here." Tampa Bay now tries to pick up the pace at home, where it has gone 1-6-1 since Feb. 2 with regulation losses in the last four. The Lightning last suffered five consecutive home defeats in regulation during 2007-08. The only time in the past six weeks they've won consecutive games regardless of the venue was Feb. 16 at Florida and Feb. 19 versus Toronto. While Tampa Bay has lost five of seven versus New York (11-12-3), it has a 12-2-3 home record in the series dating to December 2002. The Islanders had averaged 3.6 goals over a 3-0-2 stretch but saw their season-high point streak snapped in the opener of a three-game trip Sunday. Brad Boyes provided all the offense for New York, which was outscored 3-0 in the first period of a 6-1 loss to Pittsburgh. "The undisciplined penalties we took killed us," said coach Jack Capuano, whose team surrendered two power-play goals. "You can't get behind to a Stanley Cup team like that 2-3 nothing." The Islanders have allowed opponents to go 7 for 18 (38.9 percent) on the man advantage in five games this month. They are 9-2-1 when scoring at least one power-play goal compared to 2-10-2 when they don't. New York converted one of its season high-tying seven opportunities in a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay on Jan. 21. John Tavares set up two scores as the Islanders outshot the Lightning 44-26. Tampa Bay ranks 28th in the league with 26.7 shots per game. "Yes, we do pass up too many shots and I've said that many times," coach Guy Boucher told the league's official website. "That bothers me a lot." Lindback's 3.04 goals-against average is among the league's worst, but he's allowed two goals in three straight starts. "Since the beginning of the year we knew he was a good goaltender," Boucher said. "(Tuesday's) game was a huge progression for him." Evgeni Nabokov stopped 12 of 17 shots for the Islanders over two periods Sunday before being removed. He made 23 saves in the Jan. 21 win over the Lightning but is 1-3-0 with one tie lifetime in Tampa. St. Louis has six points in the past four meetings with New York, and Stamkos has five goals in the last five. Tavares has 14 points in his last 10 games against the Lightning. New York is 10-4-1 this season when he posts at least one.
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