The Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t allow a loss to halt the team from continuing to pick up points at a record-setting pace.
Ryan Malone had the lone goal in regulation, Dan Ellis made 26 saves, and Tampa Bay earned a point for the sixth straight game despite falling in overtime to the New York Islanders in a 2-1 decision Wednesday night.
The Lightning, off to the best start in franchise history with 43 points through the team’s first 34 games, are tied with Atlanta for second place in the Southeast Division standings and sit just one point behind Washington for sole possession of the division lead.
“One thing we stressed all year was the task at hand and being prepared for games,” Lightning forward Adam Hall said. “We know their record isn’t indicative of the way they play. Every time we play them they fight tooth and nail.”
P.A. Parenteau tied the game at 19:43 in the second period, tallying the Islanders’ only goal through the first 60 minutes. John Tavares scored the game-winner three minutes into the extra period after falling down and sliding a shot just beneath the stick of Ellis and into the net.
New York won for just the second time in its last nine games and for the seventh time all season. They sit tied with New Jersey for last place in the NHL with 20 points.
Dwayne Roloson turned back 34 of 35 shots, and dueled with Ellis nearly the entire length of the contest as both net minders made a series of spectacular saves on numerous opposing scoring chances.
Malone broke Roloson at 11:28 in the first for Tampa Bay, which has won 11 of its last 17 overall games despite having a four-game win streak come to an end.
The Lightning forward opened scoring on the power play after firing a rebound into an empty net from the slot. The tally was the 13th point in 11 games for Malone, who has scored eight of his ten goals this season with the man advantage.
“We were trying to move the puck around and I tried to get in position there in the high slot,” Malone said. “I think [Brett] Clark was trying to hit me there with a tip-in, but it kind of backfired, so he tried to get it over to Stammer, but the puck hit off a skate and just kind of rolled back to me. I just got fortunate that the goalie was out of the net.”
Tampa Bay outshot the Islanders 35-28, including 16-3 in the first period. New York, however, held a 5-1 advantage in the overtime period.
Parenteau tied it after taking backhand pass from Tavares along the end boards and slipping one past Ellis at 19:43 of the second. That capped the scoring in regulation until Tavares won it with his ninth of the season with just under two minutes to play.
“Late in the game you started to see guys cheat a little bit and that’s what happened,” Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin said. “We have to just put it behind us. It’s over.”
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