Series (Game 4 of 4)

Tampa Bay leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, December 5th
Game 2: Monday, December 21st
Game 3: Thursday, February 4th
Game 4: Saturday, February 13th

Lightning 4

(26-23-11, 63 pts)

Islanders 5

(25-28-8, 58 pts)

2:00 PM ET, February 13, 2010

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

1 2 3 T
TB 2 1 14
NYI 1 3 15

R. Park (Islanders - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

B. Comeau (Islanders - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

S. Stamkos (Lightning - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Lightning-Islanders Preview


A poor start and an early deficit was too much for the Tampa Bay Lightning to overcome, and their longest winning streak in over two years ended as a result.

Facing the last-place New York Islanders gives them a good chance to start a new one.

The Lightning look to complete a sweep of their season series with the struggling Islanders on Saturday afternoon when the teams meet at Nassau Coliseum.

Tampa Bay (26-22-11) gave up five straight goals in the first 24:53 Thursday and the team's rally fell short in a 5-4 loss to visiting Boston. The defeat halted the Lightning's four-game winning streak, during which they outscored opponents 12-5 -- including a 5-2 home win over the Islanders (24-28-8) on Feb. 4.

"We showed character, but playing half the game is not going to be good enough, especially against teams like Boston that are fighting, too, to get in," right wing Martin St. Louis said. "That first period was pretty embarrassing, but we fought back and I'm proud of that."

The Lightning have moved into a tie with the Bruins for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by going 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

Tampa Bay has outscored the Islanders 13-4 in winning all three season meetings, including a 4-2 win at Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 21. They last swept the season series when they accomplished the feat in consecutive seasons from 2005-07.

St. Louis has played a key role in those victories with one goal and five assists, while Steven Stamkos has scored three goals and set up two others.

The duo has also been a big part of Tampa Bay's recent success.

St. Louis, who has 22 goals and a team-leading 69 points, has nine goals and four assists during an eight-game point streak, getting two goals and one assist in each of the last two contests.

Stamkos is on a career-high 11-game point streak, collecting eight goals and 11 assists with three coming Thursday. The center leads the Lightning with 33 goals and his 66 points are second to St. Louis.

The Islanders, who are seven points back of Tampa Bay and Boston in the East, have won twice in 11 games with both victories coming via the shootout. Their last regulation win was a 4-0 victory against New Jersey on Jan. 18, capping a four-game winning streak.

New York lost again Wednesday, falling 3-1 at Pittsburgh despite holding a 38-28 shot advantage.

"It's a shame because we had a lot of steam today and were playing well and generating a lot and it seems it's a wasted effort again," captain Doug Weight said.

The Islanders have scored two goals or fewer in nine of their last 10 games, and rank 29th in the NHL with 2.40 goals per contest.

Rookie John Tavares has struggled mightily since scoring 15 goals in his first 31 games. The top overall pick in last June's draft hasn't found the net in 12 games, and has two goals in 29. He failed to muster a shot against the Penguins, and has no points in three meetings with Tampa Bay.

With 17 goals and 33 points, Tavares entered Friday ranked second among rookies in both categories.

The Islanders host Ottawa on Sunday, while the Lightning visit the New York Rangers before the NHL takes a two-week break for the Olympics in Vancouver.