Mid-game line changes help propel Isles to 5-2 win

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Islanders coach Jack Capuano has never been one to hesitate to change up the lines when he thinks things are not going the way they should.

On Tuesday night, that proved to be the game changer for the Islanders, as the shakeup propelled his squad to a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay. Line changes in the second period helped facilitate four more Islander goals after Cal Clutterbuck scored shorthanded 39 seconds into the second period.

The Islanders were not generating as many chances as Capuano would have liked through the first 20 minutes of Tuesday’s rematch against the Lightning, which led to his decision to shake things up in the second period. To read more of this story, click here

Game recap: Islanders 5 — Lightning 2

Result: The Islanders shut down Tampa’s league-leading offense and evened the score with the Lightning, who ended the Isles’ five-game winning streak by the identical score last Saturday.

Need to Know: The Islanders scored three goals in the second period and two in the third after Tampa took a 1-0 lead in the first period. The Isles are now 10-1 when scoring three or more goals..

Cal Clutterbuck’s shorthanded goal 39 seconds into the second period tied it. Four other Islanders scored; Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen both had two assists.

The Islanders shut out two of Tampa’s big guns: Steven Stamkos who entered the night tied for the league lead in goals (12) and former Ranger Ryan Callahan, who has been key to the Lightning’s success. Tampa is 7-0 this season when Callahan scores.

It was a tough night for former Islander Evgeni Nabokov, who had 30 saves on 35 shots for Tampa. The Isles’ Jaroslav Halak had 26 saves.

Johnny Boychuk left in the second period favoring his left leg, but returned for the third period.

Links: Box Score

What’s Next: The Isles travel to Pittsburgh Friday at 7 p.m. in the first game of a home-and-home on consecutive days.

Game day (18): Lightning at Islanders, 7 pm

Nassau Coliseum — Uniondale, NY
TV: MSG Plus Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Lightning… Tampa Bay is the NHL’s top scoring team with 70 goals this season. They have also scored a combined nine goals in their last two games… The Lightning are third in the NHL in power play goals with 16… Steven Stamkos is tied for the NHL goal lead. He has 12 so far this season with Tampa Bay… The Lightning are 3-0-1 in their last four games against the Islanders.

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders will look to put a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay behind them on Tuesday night, when they complete the second half of a home-and-home with the Lightning.

Jaroslav Halak will be in net for the Islanders after getting the night off on Saturday. He made 35 saves in his previous start on Friday night against the Florida Panthers. Cal Clutterbuck will return to the lineup on Tuesday night. Cory Conacher will sit out to make room for Clutterbuck.

The Islanders defense will be the same as the previous game against the Lightning.

New York will try to avoid a repeat performance of their game in the sunshine state just three nights ago. Islander Coach Jack Capuano doesn’t foresee too much tweaking to how either team plays, but feels that the Islanders’ special teams needs to be better.

“We have to make sure we stay discipline against this hockey club,” Capuano said. “With [Steven Stamkos] and [Jason Garrison] on the backend. Callahan has net presence and [Tyler] Johnson they have some skill upfront. There are some things you pick up, but to get yourself out of those situations you want to try and stay discipline.”

The Islanders will face a familiar foe in Evgeni Nabokov on Tuesday night.  Nabokov played three seasons with the Islanders before signing with the Lightning in the offseason.

Several of the players caught up with Nabokov when the Islanders were in Tampa and are looking forward to playing against him.

“It’s exciting,” Josh Bailey said after the morning skate. “I think he’s a terrific guy, great family. I think the time he was here we all became really close with him and great veteran guy for our team for a number years. It was nice to see him there on Saturday and catch up with him, and see how everything is going. It’s funny when these things happen. It doesn’t change anything on the ice.

“I’m going to go out there — just like everyone in here — and you’re going to be trying to put as many pucks by him as you can. He’s going to be trying to stop us as much as he can.”

Islanders Point Blank Podcast: Clark Gillies calls in

NHL.com’s Brian Compton and Christian Arnold of Islanders Point Blank look back at Saturday night’s loss to Tampa Bay. Plus, Brian chats with Isles legend Clark Gillies about his playing days, Al Arbour, and the final year of the Coliseum.

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Recap: Lightning 5 – Islanders 2

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.

Links: Box score | Recap

Next up: The Islanders host Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Game day (17): Islanders at Lighting

Amalie Arena — Tampa Bay, FL
TV: MSG Plus 2 Radio: WHRU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Lightning… Tampa Bay continues to be an offensive threat in the NHL. They are second in scoring with 60 goals this season and a goals per game average of 3.53. The only team with a better average is the Pittsburgh Penguins… The Lightning are 6-2-1 in this season at home… Steven Stamkos continues to be an offensive juggernaut for the Lightning. He has 18 points (11 goals, seven assists) in 17 games this season… Tampa has dropped their previous two games.

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.