Final Score: NY Islanders 4, Tampa Bay 3
Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - Michael Grabner, Matt Martin and Kyle Okposo all scored during a three-goal second period that carried the New York Islanders to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in a Monday matinee at Nassau Coliseum.
David Ullstrom added a goal later on and John Tavares notched two assists for the Islanders, who held off a late Tampa comeback effort to register their first win of the young season with head coach Jack Capuano back behind the bench.
Capuano missed New York's 2-1 loss to New Jersey in Saturday's opener after undergoing surgery to treat a kidney stone.
The Islanders outshot the Lightning by a 44-26 count, with Evgeni Nabokov stopping 23 shots to pick up the win despite surrendering three goals in the third period.
"I thought it was a total team effort today," said Capuano. "I give credit to our guys. We distributed the minutes well today. We matched up well throughout the game. A lot of guys stayed with it, and a lot of guys played key minutes in key roles tonight."
Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos each had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay, which opened its campaign with a 6-3 decision over Washington. Cory Conacher posted two assists and Anders Lindback finished with 40 saves in a losing cause.
After the teams battled through a scoreless opening period, the Islanders tallied three times in the second to break the game open.
Grabner began the barrage with New York on the power play, taking a nifty cross-ice feed from Mark Streit and beating Lindback after getting behind the Tampa defense with 6:50 elapsed in the session.
The Lightning had a man-advantage situation later in the frame, but it would end badly after Tavares stole the puck away from St. Louis and sent it to an awaiting Martin, who charged out of the box as his penalty expired and delivered a breakaway score with 3:37 left in the period.
"We wanted to get the crowd going early," Martin said. "This was a big game for us. We needed to win it. The Coliseum ... when it's loud, it's rockin', and I wanted to get some momentum on our side to carry us through the game."
Just over a minute later, Okposo lit the lamp on a 2-and-1 with Tavares to give the Islanders a seemingly comfortable 3-0 advantage they would take into the final 20 minutes.
The margin grew to four goals just 1:31 into the third period, when Ullstrom sent the puck through Lindback's legs after successfully working a give-and-go with Keith Aucoin.
St. Louis finally put the Lightning on the board less than a minute afterward, intercepting Tavares' failed clear attempt and putting a wrister past Nabokov from close range.
Tampa Bay then further closed the gap with a pair of goals within 34 seconds of one another, as Benoit Pouliot snuck a loose puck put in front by Adam Hall underneath Nabokov's pads at the 7:26 mark and Stamkos knocked home a one- timer off a Conacher feed eight minutes into the final session to pull the Lightning within 4-3.
"We know we can come back," said Stamkos. "There's a lot of cases of almost and what-ifs. We need to look at the positives in the third [period] and find a way to play that consistently throughout the game."
The Islanders would hold on the rest of the way, however, with Tampa Bay sealing its fate by committing two costly penalties in the final three minutes.
The game was the 1,000th in the career of Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier, who joined Mike Modano, Gilbert Perreault, Denis Potvin and Chris Phillips as the only No. 1 overall picks to reach the milestone with the team that originally drafted them ... Martin's goal was his first since Feb. 14 of last season and ended a 25-game pointless drought ... Tampa Bay has now lost four straight and nine of its last 11 visits to Nassau Coliseum, where New York outscored the Lightning by a 10-2 count in winning both meetings between the clubs on Long Island last season ... The Lightning acquired forward Jean- Francois Jacques from the Florida Panthers prior to the game. The 27-year-old Jacques owns 166 games of NHL experience with Edmonton and Anaheim.
01/21 17:59:22 ET
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