Thomas Greiss saves 38 shots as Lightning stumble on road in 5-1 loss to Islanders
On Saturday, the Islanders lost 2-1 at home to the Rangers.
“Yesterday we left the rink with a bitter taste in our mouths and today we did a good job of rebounding and staying the course,” Cizikas said. “It just shows what type of team we are when we play the right way and how successful we can be. When we don’t play the right way, it’s ugly hockey and it’s not pretty. Tonight was a true test and the guys answered.”
Brock Nelson, rookie Devon Toews and Josh Bailey also scored as New York had three goals in the opening five minutes and went on to get their 11th win in 14 games. Matt Martin had two assists to give each player on the Islanders’ fourth line two points.
Tampa Bay was 18-1-1 in its previous 20. The Lightning — the NHL leaders in wins (35), points (72) and road wins (16) — lost in regulation for just the ninth time this season, but second in the last five games.
“Going up against the No. 1 team in the league and to keep them to one goal is definitely big,” Cizikas said. “And it definitely speaks volumes to our defense, our goalies and our forwards. It’s definitely a huge win and something that we got to build momentum going into the next one.”
“It’s tough to spot a team a 3-0 lead in this league,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You’re playing with fire. It cost us.”
With Tampa Bay skating with an extra attacker with the goalie pulled, Greiss — who had 32 stops over the last 40 minutes — made a nice shoulder save sliding to his right on Steve Stamkos with about 4 ½ minutes left to preserve New York’s 4-1 lead.
Bailey scored an empty-netter with 52 seconds left to cap the scoring.
While the Islanders were home for the second straight day, the Lightning were playing on the road for the second night in a row — coming off a 5-3 win at Buffalo.
“It was a big win but they had a tough back-to-back,” Greiss said. “Can’t overthink it and got to be ready for the next one.”
Trailing by three after one period, the Lightning picked up their intensity in the second and outshot the Islanders 22-14.
However, Cizikas pushed New York’s lead to 4-0 with just under nine minutes left in the period as he beat Vasilevskiy from the left side for his 11th.
McDonagh got the Lightning on the scoreboard with 1:48 left in the middle period, beating Greiss from the left circle for his fifth. Stamkos had an assist on the play, giving him seven assists and nine points in his last six games.
The Islanders went on the power play just 20 seconds in, when Tampa Bay’s Erik Cernak was whistled for high-sticking. They took advantage 1:01 later as Jordan Eberle sent a pass from behind the goal line to Vasilevskiy’s right across in front to Nelson, who fired it past the Lightning goalie on the stick side from the right circle. It was Nelson’s 16th, tying him with captain Anders Lee for the team lead.
Clutterbuck doubled the lead at 4:27 with his third of the season, and first since Nov. 15, tipping a pass off Vasilevskiy’s left skate with the puck fluttering in the air over the goal line.
Toews made it 3-0 just 16 seconds later with a slap shot from the left point that gave the Islanders three goals on five shots.
“We drew a penalty, we were able to get a goal and then you follow up and we got a little momentum,” New York coach Barry Trotz said. “Before they knew it, they were in a little bit of a hole.”
The Lightning didn’t get their first shot on goal until 9:04 in, when Greiss stopped a slap shot by Yanni Gourde.
NOTES: Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev was fined $2,403.67 by the NHL, the maximum allowed under the league’s CBA, for cross-checking Buffalo’s Johan Larsson in the third period of the Lightning’s win Saturday night. … Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman left the game early in the second period after being accidentally hit in the face by an official. He did not return. … The Lightning lost against a Metropolitan Division team for the first time in 13 games this season. … Mathew Barzal had an assist on Nelson’s goal, giving him a team-leading 29. … New York scored at least four goals for the seventh time in the last 14 games.
Lightning: At Dallas on Tuesday night to finish a three-game trip.
Islanders: Host St. Louis on Tuesday night.
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