The outcome perhaps wasn’t as favorable as he would have liked, but Vincent Lecavalier still had reason to celebrate Monday afternoon.
Lecavalier, playing in his 1,000th career NHL game, became just the 29th player currently in the NHL to reach the milestone with one team.
That team, however, despite a valiant effort late in the game, fell 4-3 to the New York Islanders in an afternoon matinee on Monday at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.
Monday’s game was also the first of a back-to-back set, as the Lightning will travel to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes Tuesday night in Raleigh.
Tampa Bay set the tone early, with both BJ Crombeen and Pierre-Cedric Labrie dropping the gloves within the first nine seconds of the opening period.
Although both teams remained scoreless after the first 20 minutes, some of that same intensity came to life late in the game.
With the Bolts trailing 4-0 in the final frame, a pair of goals just 5:04 apart from St. Louis and Pouliot cut the deficit to two.
St. Louis first took advantage of John Tavares’ giveaway in the slot and bested Evgeni Nabokov for his third goal of the year. Pouliot then made it 4-2 when he picked up a loose puck near the side of the net and shoveled it through at 7:26 of the final period.
“I thought we did a good job of getting pucks deep,” Bolts assistant coach Dan Lacroix said. “Our guys were all over the ice. They were sharp.”
Stamkos made it 4-3 at the eight-minute mark of the third, but that was as close as the Lightning would come.
Nabokov made 23 saves.
Michael Grabner, Matt Martin, Kyle Okposo and David Ullstrom each had goals for the Islanders, which avenged a season-opening loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night to collect their first win.
Martin doubled the advantage when he took a pass out of the penalty box and beat Lindback one-on-one. New York then went up 3-0 on Okposo’s goal just 1:12 later before Ullstrom put the Islanders out to a four-goal lead early in the third.
“I thought we had played a great game up to that point,” Okposo said. “We just had to keep it going.”
Lindback stopped 40 of 44 shots, and was phenomenal at times, proving key down the stretch in helping keep Tampa Bay in the game.
Cory Conacher also had two assists for the Lightning, recording his second multi-point effort in as many career NHL games.