Game 48: Another home loss as the Islanders top the Lightning in a shootout

The Lightning pick up a point for going to overtime but let an opportunity to build momentum against one of the Eastern Conference's weaker teams by losing 2-1 to the New York Islanders Thursday night.

The New York Islanders beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in a shootout Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The recent string of woes at home for the Lightning is past the interesting stage, It's now confusing, bordering on troublesome with frustrating right behind. They're currently mired in a four-game losing streak (0-2-2) at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. It's confusing because they're currently playing quite well on the road, going 8-3-0 in their last 11 away from home. It's troublesome because while they're to be commended for where they are in the standings (in first place by one point in the Atlantic Division at the exact minute this is being written, pending the outcome of the game between the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars, which will conclude after this is published), they're not picking up points in situations where they're "supposed" to; at home against a non-contender. That's not intended to be disrespectful to the Islanders, who've won four of five on their current six-game road trip; it's just an assessment of the way things are and the way they "should" work. If this continues, frustration is sure to set in at some point.

"It's weird we couldn't lose at home and struggled to win on the road and now we barely lose on the road and struggle to win at home. In all seriousness I thought we played pretty well tonight. I thought in the second period, I think we got a little frustrated that we weren't scoring and we started doing things we normally don't do or try not to do anyway. They got a little momentum off of it. They ended up scoring; they got a good bounce off a face-off to score on that power play." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper

"We had our chances to put them away and we didn't. Their goalie played alright and we have to put them away when we have the chance and we let them hang in there. They put a goal in there in the second and we had chances in the third but we can't score. I thought we played a pretty good game, but we have to put teams away like that." - Lightning goalie Ben Bishop

The Lightning opened the scoring on a power play goal at 5:45. Valtteri Filppula scuffed a shot attempt off the heel of his stick which turned into a perfect, if inadvertent, pass to Martin St. Louis who banged the puck into a wide-open net. Tyler Johnson picked up the secondary assist.

The first period ended with the Lightning up 1-0.

Late in the second, the Islanders tied the game with Victor Hedman in the box for high sticking. Thomas Vanek notched the equalizer at 18:22 on assists from Frans Nielsen and John Tavares.

The teams headed to the third period knotted at one.

During the third, it was more of the same for both teams; a smattering of opportunities, but nothing that looked like a sustained offensive attack. Both goaltenders, Kevin Poulin for New York and Ben Bishop for the Bolts, were solid throughout and spectacular on the few occasions when they needed to be. Both goalies turned away 29 of 30 shots on the night.

A fruitless overtime gave way to everyone's favorite means of settling the outcome of a game, the universally adored shootout, which the Bolts lost when Nielsen converted for the Islanders while Filppula, Nikita Kucherov and Hedman were all turned away by Poulin.

"I thought we contained them pretty good for the most part. They had a chance, we had a chance. Both goalies played well, could have gone either way." - Lightning forward Marty St. Louis

The Lightning's next game is this Saturday, a 2:00 PM matinee in which they'll host the San Jose Sharks.

Game notes:

  • Speaking of streaks, Marty St. Louis is now on a six-game points-scored stretch, consisting of four goals and three assists.
  • His goal tonight puts him one point behind Larry Robinson for 87th place on the NHL's all-time points-scored list, and two points behind Kirk Muller for 86th place.
  • The Lightning have a record of 10-2-4 against the Islanders over the last 16 match-ups at the Forum.
  • Tonight was Victor Hedman''s 300th NHL game.
  • The Bolts have picked up at least one point in each of Bishop's last 12 games (9-0-3)
  • The Lightning honored Andre Kirwan as the 22nd Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Kirwan, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Warrick Dunn Charities, Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay, Family Network on Disabilities, Jesuit High School and Morningstar Church. Kirwan has lived what most would consider a fulfilling and successful life. He was the student body president at Jesuit High School, a graduate of Stanford University where he lettered in football all four years he was there, and won a Grey Cup as a starting wide receiver for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. However, his most significant accomplishment has been the founding of the No Strings Attached homeless ministry. No Strings Attached homeless ministry was started in 2007 by Kirwan and four other volunteers. The ministry provided 2,500 clothing items and other essentials to Tampa area homeless on Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2007. Since then, Kirwan has grown the ministry to over 50 volunteers who distribute over 25,000 essential items Tampa area homeless each Thanksgiving and Christmas./