Lightning-Islanders Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 06, 2011
Matt Moulson is one of the main reasons the last-place New York Islanders are on a modest roll. They'll try to carry their momentum back to Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night when they host the sputtering Tampa Bay Lightning. Moulson leads the Islanders (8-11-5) with 13 goals, netting seven of them during a just-completed 3-0-1 road trip. The left wing came one goal shy of a single-game club record Saturday, scoring four in a 5-4 win at Dallas. "I probably owe a lot of it to my linemates (center John Tavares and right wing P.A. Parenteau)," Moulson told the Islanders' official website. "They did more than I did out there. It was a good win for the team. That's the biggest thing. "I just try to go out there and score as many as I can and try to help the team win." However, while Moulson has nine goals and three assists in 11 games away from Long Island, he's failed to record a point in his last three home contests - all New York losses. For the season, the Isles are 6-3-3 when Moulson records a point and 2-8-2 when he's held off the scoresheet. Moulson continues to be the Islanders' top goal threat overall, having topped 30 in each of the last two seasons and getting nearly halfway to that milestone in early December this year. "I don't think people thought much of it when he signed here (from Los Angeles), but I knew the kind of guy he was and his knack for scoring goals and just getting it done," Tavares said. Despite Moulson's scoring and the recent road success, New York remains mired in the Atlantic Division cellar. The Islanders are 5-6-2 at home and have been outscored 11-3 during their three-game slide at the Coliseum. The Islanders have been outscored 11-3 during their three-game slide as host. A visit from the Lightning (11-13-2) may be just what they need to end that slide. New York has won seven of the last nine meetings with Tampa Bay at the Coliseum, including a 5-1 victory Oct. 13. Tavares had two goals and two assists, while Moulson got one of each. Moulson has five goals in eight career meetings with Tampa Bay, while Tavares has four goals as four assists in the past four home matchups. Both players failed to record a point in a 4-1 loss at Tampa Bay on Oct. 20. The Lightning are trying to avoid equaling their season-high five-game slide from Oct. 8-17. They've also dropped seven of nine on the road after falling 4-2 at Ottawa on Monday, squandering a third-period lead for a second consecutive contest. "We deserve better," right wing Martin St. Louis said. "The last four games, if you look at our games, we deserve better but you know what, this business is about winning games, and we're not doing that right now. So does that mean we quit? No, it's adversity. Little by little you climb yourself out of a hole." St. Louis has three goals in his last five games, giving him eight on the season to go with 13 assists. He's scored just once but has five assists in his last nine games on Long Island. Center Steve Stamkos has five goals and five assists during a seven-game point streak. He has four goals and three assists in his last five games at the Coliseum. The Islanders might be without goaltender Rick DiPietro after he exited Saturday's win with a groin injury. With Evgeni Nabokov also nursing a groin injury, Al Montoya becomes the likely starter. He's been in net for both previous matchups with the Lightning this season, allowing five goals on 65 shots.
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