The New York Islanders (9-11-5) used first period power surge to power themselves to a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning (11-14-2) in NHL action on Tuesday night. New York recorded three goals in a span of five minutes, as the resilient Isles continue their red-hot play.
Enjoying the fusion of the call-ups from Bridgeport, combined with a surge in confidence from their current vets, the Isles are now 4-1-2 in their past seven games.
“It has been a great week, but we have still got a lot of work to do,” said John Tavares, who helped the Isles open up the scoring in the game. “We have to raise our game.”
Martin St. Louis (9) and the Lighting took momentum away from the Isles at the 6:55 mark on a deflected slap shot in the first period.
For St. Louis it was his 800th career point, as the winger continues to show speed and grit in what has been a fine NHL career thus far. New York rebounded right back, when Tavares (9) snapped a 14 game scoreless drought, with a wicked wrister at the 14:01 mark.
The Isles continued their barrage of scoring when Matt Martin (3) recorded a wrister of his own at the 18:26 mark. Helping Martin out on his goal was Bridgeport call-up Tim Wallace, who is taking the place of speedy Michael Grabner…who is out day-to-day with a groin strain. Wallace immediately jumped into the Isles style of play, contributing to the second goal of the game, and his first NHL points on a beauty of a pass to Martin.
“He took the body very well,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said of Wallace, who made a team-leading seven hits in 9:37 of play. “I thought he had good positioning. I thought his offensive zone play real good tonight. His puck management was good tonight. He gave us a big lift. It was a big goal back behind the net and the cut back to Martin.”
The Isles concluded a three goal five minute span on a high, using beautiful tic-tac-toe passing on a power play opportunity for the 3-0 lead.
On the receiving end of the nifty passing was Milan Jurcina, who recorded his first goal of the season. Frans Nielsen (7) and captain Mark Streit (12) contributed on a beauty of a play, with sharp passing across the ice.
For Streit, the blueliner now has points in the last nine power play opportunities. New York found the back of the net twice in the third period of play, as rookie David Ullstrom recorded his first NHL goal at the 3:19 mark for the 4-1 Islanders lead.
“We have been playing well here for a while now and it felt good to get one at home,” Ullstrom said of being able to record two points tonight. On his first goal of the season, “It was huge to have been able to get my first goal. It was a great pass by Josh, I was yelling for it the whole time and he heard me at the last second and it was nice to be able to get that shot.”
Setting-up Ullstrom for his first goal was Josh Bailey (5), who has regained his confidence in his most recent play.
For Bailey, who finished the night with a plus-one rating on the ice, also recorded one blocked shot, one hit and won a total of five face-offs for the Isles. Capping off the victory was red-hot Matt Moulson, who recorded his 14th goal of the season and eighth goal in the last five games.
Tavares had this to say of his line-mate, “He is all around that net, he is so good at sniffing out those goals and it was a great shot by him at the end of the game. Moulson also made a great play on setting me up earlier on in the game, and he is a really good player.”
Continuing his fine play in the cage for New York was Al Montoya, who made 23 saves in the victory. Montoya is now 4-3-2 in the net for the Islanders holding a .931 save percentage along with a 2.17 goals against average. “It was a great all around win for the guys tonight,” Montoya said of the victory. “We have to take things day-by-day. For now we will enjoy this one, but we have to get ready for Chicago, who has a terrific team.”
The Isles will look to continue on their winning ways on Thursday, as they will face-off in a rematch with the Blackhawks. The last time the two teams met last week, the Hawks skated away with a 5-4 overtime victory. The game between the Isles and Hawks is slated to air on the MSG Plus network, with face-off scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Charity Note: Prior to the game against the Lightning the New York Islanders joined with the American Red Cross for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. On Thursday, the Isles will continue their charitable efforts in Day One of the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive.
Click here for more information on the Holiday Mail for the Heroes program:
As seen on the Examiner.com site on December 6, 2011: