Game 7: New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Islanders by a score of 4-1.

As the Bolts have gotten off to a sluggish start this season, a lot of people have been looking for a return to the disciplined and precise style of play that carried the team deep into the postseason last year, not the least of which were the Lightning themselves. Tonight, they found what they've been waiting for.

"We didn't really make any big adjustments. We just committed to playing our system, our style of play. That's when we develop a pack mentality and it's like five guys are out there moving as one. When that happens, we're hard to beat." - Vincent Lecavalier

The Lightning jumped out in front on a power play goal from Ryan Malone, the 150th goal of his career, with assists from Lecavalier and Marc-Andre Bergeron in the first period. The second ended at 2-0 thanks to a goal from Lecavalier with help from Martin St. Louis. Steven Stamkos made it 3-0 in the third with an assist from Teddy Purcell. The Islanders tightened the score at 3-1 a couple minutes later when Michael Grabner finally got a shot past goaltender Mathieu Garon, but the Lightning's Brett Clark ended the scoring with his goal on another assist from Purcell in the closing minutes of the game.

The sloppy play that has hindered the Bolts this season was nowhere to be seen as the team only drew three penalties. The two teams combined for only seven penalties all night, none in the second period. They limited the Islanders to 17 shots while taking 30 of their own. The penalty kill was perfect (three for three) while successfully converting one of their three power plays.

"I'd call this a standard game, not in that it's the way we've been playing but that this game was up to the standard we set for ourselves. Hold them under 20 shots, take 30 of our own, stick to our system, stay within ourselves. That's how we win." - head coach Guy Boucher

The win snapped a five game losing streak for the Lightning and was their first since beating the Carolina Hurricanes on opening night, nearly two weeks ago. The two teams met one week ago in New York with the Islanders winning 5-1.

The Lightning will be in action again on Saturday night when they will host the Buffalo Sabres.

Game notes:

  • This was the 15th anniversary of the first Lightning game played at the St. Pete Times Forum, originally known as the Ice Palace. On October 20th, 1996, the Lightning defeated Wayne Gretzky and the New York Rangers by a score of 5-2. Lightning center Brian Bradley scored the first goal in the new building.
  • With his first period assist, defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron extended his point scoring streak to five games, tallying two goals and six assists during that span. He entered the game leading all NHL defenders in points scored this season.
  • Tonight's announced attendance: 18,181
  • The Islanders are just the second team this season (along with the Boston Bruins) to not score a first period goal against the Lightning.
  • Lecavalier's second period goal marked the first time the Lightning have held a larger than one-goal lead since the season opener against Carolina.
  • The Lightning Community Heroes program honored Dr. Hugo and Alicia Keim. The Keims founded the ChairScholars Foundation in 1992, an initiative to provide scholarships to young people with serious physical disabilities. Beyond providing financial support, students are entered into the scholarship program while in middle school and are nurtured throughout their high school scholastic careers. In spite of being blind in one eye since birth, Dr. Keim was a successful physician and was named Chief of Spinal Surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.