Postgame 1/16/14: Islanders Defeat Lightning 2-1 in Shootout

The Islanders continued their 6 game road trip on Thursday night visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning and took a well-earned 2-1 shootout victory over the co-leaders of the Atlantic Division. On the current trip the Islanders have now recorded points in 4 of the 5 games. The games goaltending matchup saw Kevin Poulin for the Islanders and Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

The 1st period of the game saw Tampa Bay take control early. A Brian Strait delay of game penalty for the Islanders 5 minutes into the game saw more of the penalty kill struggles as Martin St. Louis scored his 21st goal of the season on the power play giving the Lightning the early 1-0 lead. There were a lot of opportunities on this power play as the Islanders couldn’t get puck control in the short time of the penalty kill. The Islanders also had some early concerns but nothing serious as Brock Nelson left the bench briefly with an injury but returned later in the period. Halfway through the 1st the Islanders were able to get some scoring chances on two power play attempts including one that would go into the 2nd period. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop continues to make the big saves when needed especially on the first Islanders power play.

The 2nd period saw the completion of an Islanders power play that continued from the end of the 1st and generating chances and making plays were what they needed coming out of intermission. They did just that and specifically the Casey Cizikas/Matt Martin/Colin McDonald line that generated a series of chances. Opportunities were missed due to back of the net and crossbars. Cizikas also drew a Lightning penalty after contact on a shorthanded attempt. Late in the period the Islanders finally had an answer for goalie Ben Bishop and on the power play it was Thomas Vanek who found back of the net to tie the game at 1. A key faceoff win from John Tavares and a good read by Frans Nielsen plus an assist led to Vanek’s 17th goal of the season. After 2 periods the game remained even at 1 goal each.

The 3rd Period saw great scoring opportunities on both sides but throughout this games both teams have had no luck with crossbars as Tavares hit one to miss on a sure goal to extend the lead. Despite that there was very smart hockey played on both sides, the game remained even and the Islanders continue their strong play in the 3rd period this time to force the game to overtime. The overtime period saw more scoring chances both ways and well played hockey which sent the game to a shootout.

In the shootout one goal was needed and Frans Nielsen continued his shootout magic scoring the only goal needed to seal the victory and the comeback after trailing early on. Nielsen had important contributions in all the scoring tonight and a big reason for this victory. The Islanders win tonight 2-1 in a shootout and conclude their 6 game road trip on Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers the first of a home and home series.

-John Santamaria

Follow me @JSantamariaNY and follow us @TCLIsles