Grabner on the ice…
Result: Tampa Bay held off the Islanders 5-2 on Saturday night in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Need to Know: It was a wild first period in the Tampa Bay area as the Lightning led 3-2 at the end of the period. The Islanders (11-6) actually had a 2-1 lead in the first period after goals from Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey. Tampa Bay would rally with a pair of goals two minutes apart with Valtteri Fippula scoring at 13:46 and then Cedric Paquette at 15:29. The Lightning never trailed again as it tacked on a goal in the second and third periods to win going away. Ben Bishop stopped 25 shots for Tampa and is 10-2 on the season in net.
Next up: The Islanders host Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Amalie Arena — Tampa Bay, FL
TV: MSG Plus 2 Radio: WHRU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:Six in a row?
The Islanders will sure try to record their sixth consectutive victory Saturday night in Tampa Bay. It’s the second game of a back-to-back set in southern Florida. The Islanders are 5-0-0 this season in back-to-back games.
Saturday will be the first of three games between New York and Tampa Bay. In three meetings last season, the Lightning two of the three games, which all went to a shootout. The Islanders are 41-35-3-6 lifetime against the Lightning.
After making three straight starts, Jaroslav will get the night off. Chad Johnson will start in net for the Islanders and the same defensive pairs as Friday will on the ice Saturday. Cal Clutterbuck, who left Friday’s game in the third period, will be a game time decisions.
Ben Bishop will start for the Lightning.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
For the game recap, click here.
Below are some quick thoughts and notes on the Islanders 4-3 shootout win over Florida: To read more of this story, click here
Result: The Islanders beat the Panthers in the shootout on Friday night.
Need to Know: The Islanders gave up two late goals in the third period to the Panthers, forcing overtime. After a scoreless overtime, Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo scored in the shootout, while Jaroslav Halak turned away two of the three shots to earn the shootout win.
John Tavares and Ryan Strome each had a goal in the second period, to put the Isles up 2-1.
New York went up 3-1 on a Nikolay Kulemin goal in the third period, before letting the lead slip.
Halak made 35 saves on 38 shots.
What’s Next: The Isles head to Tampa Bay on Saturday night.
BB&T Center — Sunrise, FL
TV: MSG Plus 2 Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:The Islanders take a four-game winning streak to south Florida to take on the Panthers.
The matchup is the first of three between the Islanders and Panthers. Florida went 2-1-0 against the Islanders last season and 1-0-0 at home against them.
Jaroslav Halak will get the start in net for the Islanders on Friday night and Josh Bailey will return from an injury to take Corey Conacher’s slot in the lineup. Halak made 20 saves in his last start on Tuesday in a 6-0 shutout of the Colorado Avalanche. It was his second consecutive shutout this season.
Bailey has been out with a broken hand since October 23. He has four points (two goals, two assists) through seven games with the Islanders this season.
The Panters will likely start Roberto Luongo in goal against the Islanders.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:Outside of the top line, goals have been hard to come by in the past for the Islanders. This year, like man other aspects of the team, things have certainly changed.
John Tavares and Kyle Okposo are putting up points for the Islanders — Tavares has 16 (six goals, 10 assists) and Okposo has 14 (five goals, nine assists) — but the other line have been contributing on the score sheet as well. Eric Boulton and Matt Martin are the only Islanders with a goal this season, and even with that both players have created scoring chances for their line mates.
The Islanders have had an infusion of secondary scoring with the addition of Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin, who have seven and eight points respectively. Brock Nelson’s offensive contributions have also been a huge asset for the Isles offensive numbers, as well as offensive contributions from the blue line.
They are averaging 3.07 goals for per game this year, which is ranked sixth in the NHL. For comparison, the Islanders finished in the middle of the pack last season averaging 2.63 goals per game.