NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, February 3rd
(All times eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (17-23-10) at New York Islanders (15-29-5), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The suddenly-hot New York Islanders will try to extend
their winning streak to a season-high four games when they host the Tampa Bay
Lightning tonight at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders, who are still last in the NHL with 35 points, had lost eight in
a row before stringing together three straight wins recently. New York had
also won three in a row from November 13-17, but hasn't had a four-game
winning streak since rattling off six consecutive victories from February
The most recent triumph came Saturday against Florida as the Islanders skated
to a 3-1 decision over the visiting Panthers. Yann Danis made 37 saves and
came just 1:27 away from his first shutout of the season, as New York notched
the win at the Coliseum.
Mike Comrie had a goal and an assist while Bill Guerin and Kyle Okposo each
lit the lamp for the Islanders.
New York is just 9-12-3 as the host this season, but has won its last two
tests on home ice after dropping its previous four outings on Long Island.
The Lightning also had tied a season-high with three straight wins recently,
but have since been dealt losses in back-to-back games.
Tampa dropped a 3-2 decision at Carolina on Thursday and was then handed a 6-1
thrashing the following night by Philadelphia. Mike Richards had two goals and
an assist, leading the Flyers to the resounding win at St. Pete Times Forum.
Vinny Prospal had the lone goal for the Lightning, who are fourth in the
Southeast Division with just 44 points on the year.
Mike Smith was beaten six times on 30 shots before he was replaced by Riku
Helenius. A first-round pick in 2006, Helenius made two saves in his NHL
Smith has been battling an upper-body injury and it's uncertain who will start
in tonight's contest. It won't be Helenius, who was sent back down to the
Bolts' AHL affiliate in Norfolk. Karri Ramo was recalled from Norfolk and the
Lightning also signed goaltender Mike McKenna. Either Ramo or McKenna will get
the start tonight.
The Lightning had two goals disallowed in the loss and Martin St. Louis was
also stopped on a penalty shot.
Tampa Bay, which has a poor 9-14-3 record as the guest this year, is playing
the first of two straight on the road tonight. The Bolts will also visit
Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
The Islanders posted a 4-3 overtime victory in Tampa in the only meeting
between the clubs on October 16. New York has taken four of the last five
encounters and the Lightning have dropped two in a row at the Coliseum.
02/03 11:46:20 ET