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Season Series: The Bolts and Islanders face off for the third of four meetings on the year. So far this season, the teams have split a pair of matchups with a win and a loss each. The home team this season has scored four or more goals in each of the first two meetings between the clubs, while the visitor has scored just a single goal in both matches on the year.
The Big Story: Tampa Bay looks to snap a stretch of four straight losses Tuesday on the night of its 21st birthday. On Dec. 6, 1990, the NHL’s Board of Governors awarded Hall-of-Famers Phil and Tony Esposito, as well as the city of Tampa, an expansion hockey franchise that two years later would skate in its very first NHL game. Now, however, the Lightning desperately need a win not only to keep pace with the clubs ahead of them in Southeast Division standings, but to avoid matching a season-high five-game losing streak.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay plays in the second match of its current four-game road trip. Tuesday’s game is also the second in the team’s third back-to-back set of the season and the first of three consecutive matches to be played against an Atlantic Division opponent. The Lightning have struggled as of late, as they comes into their tilt with the Islanders riding a four-game losing streak. The team’s troubles continued last night in Ottawa, falling 4-2 to the Senators in a game that eerily resembled a case of déjà vu when the Lightning fell in similar fashion to the New York Rangers just two nights earlier. Bruno Gervais and Martin St. Louis each scored for the Lightning, but for the second straight game, Tampa Bay surrendered a one-goal lead in the third period and gave up three unanswered opposing goals in the final 20 minutes to take the loss.
ISLANDERS – New York hosts the Lightning in the first of three to be played this week at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. The Islanders come in with three victories in their last four tries, including the club’s most recent on Saturday night in Dallas. Matt Moulson notched a four-goal game for New York, which was the first of its kind by any player in the NHL this season. The individual performance, while impressive, didn’t make it any easier for his team to earn the win. Moulson’s four goals on the night were countered by an equal number of tallies by Dallas in the second period alone, sending a one-goal game into the final 20 minutes. It proved to be enough though, as neither club scored in the third period, allowing the Islanders to edge out the Stars by a 5-4 score.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos appears to be on pace for another Rocket Richard Trophy-winning season, as he comes in tied for second in the NHL with 16 goals, including 10 of which have come in his past 14 games. He comes in riding a seven-game point streak with five goals and as many assists in that span. The Islanders’ Matt Moulson has notched seven goals and eight points in his past four games, while PA Parenteau has seven points, also in his past four. John Tavares also enters Tuesday with five assists in his past two games.
Notable Quotable: “Let's not kid ourselves. We're not in a position as a team to lose defensemen and keep playing and look the same way. The reality is it's something we know we have to improve, so it's tough.” – Guy Boucher, on the loss of Pavel Kubina and the Lightning’s ailing blue line
Connections: Lightning assistant coach Dan Lacroix served in the same capacity for the Islanders from 2006-09…Bolts defenseman Bruno Gervais spent his entire career with New York prior to being acquired by Tampa Bay this past summer…Lightning center Nate Thompson skated in 82 games with the Islanders from 2008 until January 2010 when he was claimed off waivers by the Lightning from New York…Goaltender Dwayne Roloson is a former New York Islander and spent the 2009-10 season and half of last season with the club prior to being acquired by Tampa Bay in a trade that sent minor league defenseman Ty Wishart to Long Island…Bolts defensemen Eric Brewer and Marc-Andre Bergeron also spent portions of their careers with New York.
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