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ISLANDERS (18-23-7) vs. LIGHTNING (28-15-4)
Islanders7-3-0; Tampa Bay 5-4-1
Sun Sports; AM 970 WFLA
Tampa Bay hosts the Islanders for the first of two games at home this season. Winning their first matchup at Nassau Coliseum in a 3-2 come-from-behind shootout win, Valtteri Filppula scored two third period goals with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. Filppula and Nikita Kucherov both tallied shootout goals to help snap the Bolts five-game losing streak at the time.
With so much recent success on the road the Lightning hope their luck continues at the Tampa Bay Times Forum where they attempt to snap a three-game home losing streak.
LIGHTNING – After missing a little more than a week with a sprained right wrist Ben Bishop returned between the pipes Tuesday versus the New York Rangers for their third and final meeting this season. And his wrist was immediately tested as the Rangers registered a total of 34 shots on goal throughout the evening. However Bishop seemed to pick up right where he left off, recording his 23rd win of the season, good for second in the league, in a 33-save effort.
The Lightning had a little bit of a scare after the initial 20 minutes of play when a fall into the boards seemed to bother blueliner Victor Hedman's shoulder. He would exit for the locker room after talking with the team trainer, but was back on the bench in the second and made an immediate impact with a power-play tally that tied the game at one.
Steven Stamkos continues to skate with the Bolts in a red, no-contact jersey, along with the injured Keith Aulie (broken hand), who has exchanged his for a regular practice jersey. Sami Salo (lower body) is still considered day-to-day.
ISLANDERS – New York left the Island for Sunrise, Florida with a seven-game road winning streak (second-longest in franchise history) on the line. They also had tied an NHL record by winning five consecutive road contests despite trailing in each game, a feat which has only been achieved by five other teams. Yet a 4-0 deficit created by the Florida Panthers proved too much to overcome with Thomas Vanek and Colin McDonald scoring the only goals for the Islanders in a 4-2 defeat.
Showing signs of life as of late the Isles have gone 7-3-0 in their last 10 games and center John Tavares is fresh-off being named the NHL's First Star of the Week for the week ending January 12, after amassing 10 points (four goals, six assists) with a plus-9 rating. They currently sit at the basement of the standings in the Metropolitan Division with 43 points.
With the game-tying marker last night, Hedman became the fifth defenseman to score 10 goals this season, while also tying his career-best for points (26). He is expected to skate in his 300th NHL game Thursday night against the Islanders.
1/13 – Reassigned G Cedrick Desjardins to the Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
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