NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, October 20th
(All times Eastern)
New York Islanders (3-1-0) at Tampa Bay Lightning (1-3-2), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Islanders had the luxury of playing in
Uniondale for their first four games of the season and will hit the road for
the first time tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Islanders are 3-1-0 on the season and young star John Tavares is a big
reason for the promising start. Tavares had two goals and two assists last
week in a 5-1 win versus the Lightning, then recorded a hat trick and an
assist in Saturday's 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers.
Tavares is the first Islander since Robert Reichel in 1997 to post consecutive
"You're not going to say no to production like that," Tavares said. "It's nice
to produce, it's what I do best. I take a lot of pride in it. It's nice to
Evgeni Nabokov made his first start in an Islanders uniform and had 29 saves.
The Isles used Al Montoya in the first three contests in place of an injured
Rick DiPietro. Nabokov, who was suspended by the Isles last spring for
refusing to report to the team after being claimed off waivers, played part of
last season in Russia's KHL. He was then signed by Detroit as a free agent in
January 2011 before being claimed on waivers by the Isles two days later.
Nabokov is two wins behind Ron Hextall (296) for 26th place in the league's
all-time list. Matt Moulson also scored in the recent win for the Isles, whose
six points match their highest total through four games since 2001-02. Moulson
extended his games-played streak to 168. Jay Pandolfo is one goal shy of his
100th and Brian Rolston needs 10 more games to reach 1,200 in his career.
New York will also visit Florida on its first road trip of the season.
Meanwhile, the Lightning own just one win in six tries so far this season and
haven't tasted victory since a 5-1 triumph at Carolina on Oct. 7. Their
season-high losing streak reached five games with Monday's 7-4 loss versus
Florida in the back end of a home-and-home series.
Teddy Purcell, Victor Hedman, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos netted the
goals for Tampa Bay, which got 26 saves from goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Marc-
Andre Bergeron extended his point streak to four games, the team's longest of
the season, with three assists.
"The thing we don't want to do is panic here. The reality is we have to get
better and we have to get some chemistry now and we just have not had things
together," said Tampa head coach Guy Boucher. "Right now it's not that we are
doing everything bad, we just are having trouble getting it all together in
the same game."
Tampa Bay will resume a three-game homestand tonight versus the Islanders and
Sabres. Martin St. Louis is expected to play his 479th consecutive game
tonight for the Lightning, who rank third in the NHL for goals scored with 18
over the club's first six contests. Lecavalier is seven assists shy of 450 and
four points shy of 800 for his career.
New York defeated the Lightning one week ago at Nassau Coliseum and is 5-1-0
in the last six games in this series. The Islanders won both games at St. Pete
Times Forum last season. Tampa Bay is 37-31-3-5 all-time against New York,
which has dropped 10 of the past 15 meetings as the guest.
10/20 10:44:00 ET