The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Islanders 5-2.
Steven Stamkos scored his 30th and 31st goals of the season. Martin St. Louis has a five-game goal scoring streak going. And the Lightning are currently sitting in eighth in the Eastern Conference. Not too bad for a night’s work, really.
Antero Niittymaki is 5-0-1 in his last five starts. I would have to say that, at this time at least, that Niittymaki is the number one goaltender. As well he should be. He’s definitely earned it. Without him, I’m not sure that the Lightning would be where they are right now. Mike Smith has played well for the team, but he’s never really gotten back to the form he had last season.
Vincent Lecavalier also scored last night on a strange play. He was hit in the face with a stick, which, understandably caused him to fall and he therefore tripped up Alex Tanguay as well. So the two of them were caught behind the play as the Islanders skated off for a breakaway.
Then Victor Hedman managed to get the puck and pass it to Tanguay at center ice. At that point, Lecavalier and Tanguay were behind the Islander defenders so they had a two-on-none. Tanguay passed to Lecavalier, and Vinny – with blood dripping down the side of his face from a cut above his left eye – shot the puck home when Dwayne Roloson decided to try to cover Tanguay.
That was the play that sank the Islanders. Up until that point, they’d been in the game. But afterwards, they never managed to get things really going for a sustained effort.
Some interesting stats on the night…. Stamkos had seven shots on goal. Matt Walker had three blocked shots. Zenon Konopka was 7-1 (88%) in the faceoff circle. Nate Thompson had three hits. The Lightning scored on one of their three power plays.
You also might be interested in knowing that Kurtis Foster did not break any panes of glass this game.
The next game is against the Calgary Flames at home Saturday, 6 February. Start time is at 7 pm Eastern. This game will be broadcast live across on the CBC’s Canada on Hockey Night in Canada, which is why it’s a half-hour earlier start than usual.
Islanders vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]
Lighthouse Hockey [SB Nation New York Islanders site]