UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The Tampa Bay Lightning put 32 shots on goal on Thursday night, but in the end it was Rick DiPietro who proved to be the difference-maker. Recording his 14th career shutout, DiPietro held off the Lightning to give the New York Islanders a 1-0 win.
In Tampa Bay’s first regulation road loss since January 2, the clubs skated into the third with a scoreless tie. Miroslav Satan went on to post the lone goal of the contest early in the third to give New York the decision.
Early in the game Vincent Lecavalier looked to give Tampa Bay the lead on a give-and-go play with linemates Vaclav Prospal and Martin St. Louis. After Prospal fed a pass towards the bottom of the right faceoff circle, St. Louis directed the puck up to Lecavalier in the slot. Lecavalier fired a shot, but the attempt deflected off Radek Martinek’s stick and over the net.
Between the pipes for Tampa Bay, Karri Ramo stopped 14 shots in the opening period. Early in the first, Ramo denied a shot from the right point by Richard Park. Firing a shot off a drop pass by Satan, Park has stopped by a pad save.
Islanders captain Bill Guerin put a shot on Ramo late in the period, skating around a Lightning defender as he cut into the zone. As Guerin pulled around to fire a shot from the edge of the left faceoff circle, Ramo dropped down to cover the puck with his right leg. Ramo later held off New York’s leading point scorer, Mike Comrie, covering a shot through traffic.
Tampa Bay responded with their own chances as they skated with the man-advantage. After Chris Gratton won a faceoff in the offensive zone, Dan Boyle fired off a slapshot from the point. Gratton passed the puck out to Lecavalier from the left side boards moments later, setting up the Lightning center for a snap shot from the right faceoff circle.
Early in the second Prospal fed a pass through the zone to Paul Ranger at the left point. As Ranger fired a shot St. Louis positioned himself at the top corner of the crease, but DiPietro made a glove save on the tip-in attempt.
Ramo continued his strong goaltending at the opposite end of the ice, holding off a shot by Bryan Berard as Guerin fed the Islanders defenseman with a pass to the right faceoff circle. With Comrie in front of the net looking for a deflection, Ramo blocked the attempt to keep New York off the board.
Within minutes Boyle put a shot on DiPietro from the top of the slot, but the puck deflected off the netminder’s mask.
At 5:37 of the final period, Satan posted his 14th goal of the season to give the Islanders the lead. After Sean Bergenheim dropped a pass back to Satan as he skated across the blue line, the New York winger wrist a shot from the top of the slot that beat Ramo to the five-hole.
Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger (54) defends New York Islanders center Mike Comrie (89) as Lightning goalie Karri Ramo (31) stops a shot on goal during the second period on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008, in Uniondale, NY. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Richards looked to respond for Tampa Bay moments later, firing a wrist shot off the right side boards. DiPietro made the glove save on the attempt.
With a little more than five minutes remaining in the game, St. Louis dished the puck to Lecavalier as he charged into the zone. Snapping a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle, Lecavalier beat DiPietro to the glove side, but the puck rang off the left post on the play.
Lecavalier led all skaters with six shots, but was held off the scoresheet for the first time in eight games. The Lightning center recorded nine points (one goal, eight assists) during the stretch.
Prospal also saw his scoring streak come to an end. Tying his career-high, Prospal recorded five goals during the four-game streak. Prospal has posted nine goals during his previous 11 games.
Tampa Bay out-shot New York 32-28 in the contest, and both teams were held scoreless through a combined seven power play opportunities. Ramo made 27 saves to post the decision for the Lightning.
Thursday’s contest marked the first regulation road loss for the Lightning since early January. Tampa Bay posted a 7-0-3 record during the 10-game stretch.
The Lightning return to the St. Pete Times Forum on Saturday, February 23 (7:30p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE) to face off against the Boston Bruins. The game marks the third of four meetings between the clubs this season, and kicks off a three-game homestand for Tampa Bay.
1 - 0 NYI
Delaying Game - Puck over glass
Martin St. Louis
Holding the stick