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GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (19-17-3) at New York Islanders (17-18-2).
TIME: Monday, 7 p.m. EST.
The New York Islanders might be without starting goaltender Rick DiPietro as they try to avoid a season-high fifth straight loss against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.
DiPietro, recently selected to the U.S. team for the upcoming Turin Olympics, has a mild left knee sprain and is listed as day-to-day. He suffered the injury Friday when he fell to the ice during a scramble that led to an Ottawa goal at 6:29 of the first period in the Islanders' eventual 4-3 loss to the Senators.
DiPietro, who faced only six shots, needed help to skate off the ice, but wasn't favoring either leg by the time the game was over. He is 13-12-2 with a 3.45 goals-against average this season, but has struggled of late, yielding 27 goals in his last seven starts.
Garth Snow made 28 saves after replacing DiPietro on Friday, but suffered his fourth straight loss. He was unable to protect a 3-1 lead, giving up the game-winner with 1:46 to play.
Mattias Weinhandl, Chris Campoli and Jason Blake scored for the Islanders, who have been outscored 20-10 during their skid.
New York coach Steve Stirling has started to pull some of the players for poor effort.
He didn't dress defenseman Brad Lukowich, who missed his first game of the season Friday, and has managed just two assists in his last 10 games.
"I didn't think he's played very well the last few games, plain and simple," Stirling said.
Stirling also benched captain Alexei Yashin after Ottawa scored the tying goal on a power play, resulting from Yashin's hooking penalty in the third period.
"You take a penalty and they score a goal, I can't take a chance that you're going to take another penalty, so I went with the guys who had gotten us to that point, and the other guys had gotten us to that point," Stirling said.
Tampa Bay looks to snap out of its own funk after suffering its sixth loss in seven games, 2-1 to the Boston Bruins on Friday. Rob DiMaio scored for Tampa Bay, which had won 11 of 14 before its recent slump.
"It's very important we keep our edge about ourselves as we fight through this," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "There's a lot of hockey to be played. We can't look at the standings. We need to work each and every day and just try to find a way to get points."
Tampa Bay went 0-for-5 on the power play, and has converted just two of its last 30 chances.
Sean Burke made 22 saves, starting in place of John Grahame, who has lost five of his last six starts.
Tampa Bay captain Dave Andreychuk played in his 1,635th game, tying him with Scott Stevens for fourth place on the career list.
STANDINGS: Lightning - 41 points, 2nd place, 11 PB, Southeast Division. Islanders - 36 points, 4th place, 18 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - Fredrik Modin, 17 goals; Brad Richards, 29 assists; Vaclav Prospal, 43 points; Pavel Kubina, 58 PIM. Islanders - Blake, 17 goals; Yashin, 22 assists and 36 points; Arron Asham, 74 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Lightning - Power play: 14.6 percent (35 for 240), 26th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.3 percent (161 for 198), 19th. Islanders - Power play: 18.5 percent (43 for 232), 12th (tied). Penalty killing: 80.6 percent (200 for 248), 24th (tied).
GOALTENDERS: Lightning - Grahame (15-13-1, 1 SO, 2.94 GAA); Burke (4-3-2, 2.89). Islanders - DiPietro (13-12-2, 3.45); Snow (4-6-0, 3.72).
SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 17; Lightning, 3-2. At Tampa Bay, Martin St. Louis scored the tiebreaking goal off a rebound with 1:43 remaining.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 8-8-2 on the road; Islanders - 8-8-1 at home.
|Mar 19 '06||NYI 2 at TBL 5||R. Fedotenko|
|Feb 06 '06||TBL 3 at NYI 2 - OT||V. Lecavalier|
|Jan 02 '06||TBL 2 at NYI 1||M. St. Louis|
|Nov 17 '05||NYI 2 at TBL 3||M. St. Louis|
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