Game 18: Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders

UNIONDALE NY - NOVEMBER 17: Martin St. Louis #26 of the Tampa Bay Lightning scores at 18:31 of the third period aganst the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on November 17 2010 in Uniondale New York. The Lightning defeated the Islanders 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning broke their three-game winless streak by beating the New York Islanders 4-2.

This was a game that they needed to win. Not from a standings perspective, but from a team perspective. They'd been in a slump beginning with their western road trip, they lost their captain for a month, and they weren't feeling very good about themselves. Now, with this win, they'll be able to go into the game tonight with Philadelphia feeling a little better about it.

And it helps make the fans feel a little bit better, too.

Martin St. Louis scored a goal and got his 700th point. Steven Stamkos opened up the scoring by getting his 16th goal of the year. And Brett Clark and Nat Thompson round out the goal scoring for the Lightning.

Steve Downie was back for his second game since his back injury, and he was in great form. It's easy to overlook Downie on this team because of the great abilities of the other players, but he's just as good as Stamkos, in his own way. Too many people write him off because of his hot temper and lack of impulse control, which is too bad.

I may have said this before, but Nate Thompson is probably the most underrated player on the team. He's fantastic at faceoffs and very good physical player. He may not score much, but he does get one every now and then - just like in this game. The empty netter he scored was beautiful - not because of how he shot it in, but because of how he kept the puck and worked to get that shot.

A scary play happened in the second that involved Matt Moulson and Mattias Ritola. Ritola hit Moulson from behind, and left his feet while doing that. By the rules, Ritola should've been thrown out of the game instead of getting a five-minute major for boarding. Moulson was okay and finished the game, but still. You don't leave your feet when you hit someone - that's illegal.

Overall, it was a decent game against a struggling team. The Lightning didn't play spectacularly well, and they had problems keeping the Islanders out of their own end, but they managed to get some shots on goal and win the game. Which, in the end, is what matters.

The next game is tonight at the Philadelphia Flyers. Game time is 7 pm Eastern, and the game thread opens up at 6:30 pm. Come join us for a little pregame chat.

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