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ISLANDERS (28-35-9) vs. LIGHTNING (39-24-9)
SUN; AM 970 WFLA
Last 10: New York Islanders 5-4-1; Tampa Bay 5-1-4
This is the third and final meeting between the Lightning and Islanders during the 2013-14 campaign. Both prior games have been decided in a shootout, with the Isles coming up with the latest victory thanks to Frans Nielsen scoring the lone shootout goal.
After losing their last game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in a shootout, the Lightning must take advantage of the remainder of their home-heavy schedule, which includes seven out of their last 10 tilts.
LIGHTNING – Two second period goals from the Ottawa Senators Monday left the Lightning in a 3-1 hole by the midway point of the game. Yet the Bolts responded with back-to-back tallies of their own, both on the power play. With neither team scoring in the extra frame, the Lightning went on to lose in the shootout for the fifth time in its past six skills competitions.
While the Lightning power play has continued to be spectacular with nine goals in its past 29 opportunities, Tampa Bay has struggled in shootouts.
Head coach Jon Cooper said every team goes through stretches of being unlucky in shootouts, but he offered this explanation for creating a winning outcome in those situations:
"Win in overtime."
ISLANDERS – New York jumped out to a 4-0 lead in a span of 7:15 in the first period Tuesday versus the Carolina Hurricanes. It was the first time this season they have held a 4-0 lead at any point.
The Hurricanes then scored three straight goals, but Matt Martin's marker with less than four minutes remaining in the second helped the Islanders to a two-goal lead. New 'Canes forward Nathan Gerbe brought Carolina within a goal once again, but they were unable to ever take the lead versus the Isles, who won their third game over their past four.
The Isles dressed nine different rookies for the second consecutive game Tuesday. One of those rookies, Kevin Czuczman, recorded his first NHL point, while four other rookies also registered a point.
With New York getting the youth on their team ready for next season, the Isles are likely to put a similar team on the ice Thursday versus Tampa Bay.
Victor Hedman has four points over his past three games, including a power-play goal Monday. He has not gone more than two games without contributing at least one point since November 29-December 5 (three games). Valtteri Filppula's nine-game point streak (four goals, nine assists) is tied (Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars) for the longest current active streak in the NHL.
The Islanders Cal Clutterbuck has goals in four of his past six games.
3/20 – Signed free agent forward Cody Kunyk to a one year, two-way contract
Lightning – D Brian Lee (knee, out); Islanders – F Eric Boulton (hand, out), F Michael Grabner (concussion, out), D Brian Stait (broken hand, out), F John Tavares (knee, out), D Lubomir Visnovsky (upper body)
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