Last 10: Tampa Bay (2-7-1); New York (3-7-0)
Season Series: Tonight marks the second meeting in 2009-10 between the two clubs, and the first at the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders traveled to the St. Pete Times Forum back on Dec. 5 and suffered a 4-0 loss to the Bolts in which goaltender Mike Smith recorded his first shutout since Dec. 23, 2008, stopping all 30 shots faced. Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Andrej Meszaros each tallied two points in the win and Victor Hedman scored his first career NHL goal. The two teams will meet again at the Times Forum on Feb. 4 before concluding the season series on Long Island on Feb. 13.
The Big Story: Tampa Bay found the offense it had been looking for in recent games with a win over the Blues on Friday, its first on its six-game road trip. The Lightning exploded for six goals, including two each from Steven Stamkos and Jeff Halpern. Martin St. Louis led all skaters with three points and a plus-4 rating, but was just one of seven Lightning players to record at least two points in the contest. The game was the Bolts’ best collective statistical effort to date, tallying a team total of 16 points and a plus-23.
LIGHTNING – The Bolts wrap up the longest road trip of the season tonight on Long Island before returning home for the second meeting of 2009-10 with the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, the first of a five-game home stand. Vincent Lecavalier recorded his 700th career point on Friday against St. Louis at the Scottrade Center, while Steven Stamkos recorded his second consecutive season with at least 20 goals. Lightning forward Alex Tanguay is likely to be next in line to achieve a major milestone, as he is one point shy of 600 for his career. Jeff Halpern also totaled his first two-goal game of the season in the 6-3 win over the Blues, just 24 hours after undergoing dental surgery stemming from an incident the previous night in Detroit. The Bolts are still without forward Steve Downie, who suffered an upper body injury last Tuesday at Nashville. Defenseman Matt Walker is also out with a lower body injury. Both are listed as day-to-day.
ISLANDERS – New York faces off against the Lightning in their third consecutive game at home. The host, however, is looking for a win after dropping its previous two. The Isles were shutout in their last contest versus Montreal, which scored all three goals with the man advantage while the Islanders went scoreless on six power play chances. New York has gone 0 for 17 on the power play in the last four games after going 5 of 14 in its previous three matches. Goaltender Dwayne Roloson will likely start in net after Marty Biron lost his fifth consecutive start on Saturday. Roloson posts an 11-6-5 record with a 2.91 goals-against average in 22 games this season, but received the loss in his last meeting against the Bolts despite stopping 21 shots.
- Kurtis Foster has four points in his last three games and Ryan Malone has tallied three points in as many contests, as well.
- The Islanders’ Blake Comeau has totaled two points in his last three games.
LIGHTNING – Steve Downie (upper body, day-to-day) and Matt Walker (lower body, day-to-day).
ISLANDERS – Tim Jackman (hip pointer, out one-two weeks), Sean Bergenheim (ribs, out one-two weeks), Doug Weight (upper body, placed on Injured Reserve) and Radek Martinek (knee, out for season).
Quotable: “It [Friday’s win at St. Louis] gives us a little bit of enjoyment. There’s no real explanation for how we went from a team that was doing pretty well and was right in the thick of things to just falling off the face of the earth. It’s a step in the right direction.” – Lightning center Jeff Halpern
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