Steven Stamkos inched closer to re-writing the franchise record books on Saturday night, and helped his team earn two points in the process.
Stamkos scored twice and added an assist, Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves as the Lightning overcame a one-goal deficit in the third period to edge out a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders in front of a sellout crowd of 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Stamkos surpassed his previous career-high of 51 goals and tied captain Vincent Lecavalier’s single-season franchise record of 52 when he one-timed a feed from the right circle just 1:46 into the second period that gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead.
He also scored earlier in the game to open the scoring late in the first after finding a loose puck at the side of the net and slipping one past Islanders goaltender Al Montoya at 15:49.
“It’s nice,” Stamkos said of getting his 51st and 52nd goals. “I don’t think it means too much now with where we are in the standings. We’d like to be doing that in the playoffs, but it’s nice to get a couple and contribute offensively. Hopefully we can finish strong.”
The two-goal performance broke the Lightning forward’s mini slump after he went four consecutive games without a goal since reaching the 50-goal plateau on Mar. 13.
“We had talked about it before, about knowing that we were getting chances and that they would go in eventually,” Stamkos added. “You know they are going to come eventually if you keep at it.”
Tom Pyatt and Tim Wallace had the other goals for Tampa Bay, which has now won two straight.
Teddy Purcell and Martin St. Louis also added two assists each in the victory, as the Lightning finished off their season-long seven-game homestand with a mark of 3-4-0.
Wallace snapped a 3-3 tie at 12:10 of the final period to put the Bolts up by one after they surrendered a two-goal lead in the second period.
Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo and Matt Moulson scored for the Islanders, which saw their modest two-game win streak come to an end. New York has now lost six of its past eight games.
Montoya finished with 22 saves.
“Systematically we were sound,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. “We gave up nine or 10 chances the whole game, but the goals they scored came down to not elevating our battle level. Al [Montoya] made some good saves for us.”
With Brandon Segal off for tripping eight minutes into the second, Nielsen sliced the deficit in half just 14 seconds into the ensuing power play, roofing one above the glove of Roloson at 8:15.
The Lightning net minder won his second consecutive game anyway after coming away with a number of big stops. Okposo had his shot during a breakaway stopped, and John Tavares hit the post later in the period. He also denied Tavares on two separate occasions early on in the opening period from in-close.
New York then tied it 2-2 when Okposo took a centering feed from behind the net from Josh Bailey and backhanded one past Roloson from the crease just before the second period ended.
“I really didn’t like our second period,” Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. “I wasn’t happy at all after that and I thought we were soft.”
Moulson gave the Islanders their first lead of the game just 43 seconds into the third after he stuffed in a second attempt past Roloson.
With the Islanders clinging to a 3-2 lead, Pyatt then drew Tampa Bay even when he took a pass at the goal mouth from Ryan Malone and tapped it in past Montoya at 9:08 of the third.
“Cons [Brett Connolly] made a great play there and I think Bugsy [Ryan Malone] knew I was going to be around that paint. I just had to keep that up on net.”
Pyatt now has three goals in his past two games and a career-high 11 on the season.
Wallace scored 3:02 later to put the Lightning back up by one and seal the victory.