Lightning 3, Islanders 2 (SO): Tampa Wins in Round 13

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Box Score || Highlights || Fancy Stats

It took thirteen rounds of the shootout for a victor to emerge from the Islanders / Lightning game tonight. In Round 13, Tampa’s Sami Salo scored to seal the victory for his club. Frans Nielsen, Brock Nelson, Colin McDonald and Casey Cizikas all scored for the Islanders in the extra session.

The first period went goalless but it took only 29 seconds for the Lightning to get on the board after the first intermission. Newly acquired Ryan Callahan deflected in a point shot from defender Radko Gudas to make it 1-0. The Islanders would answer just over a minute later when Ryan Strome scored his fifth of the year at the 1:33 mark from a sharp angle. Matt Donovan would put the Islanders ahead halfway through the period. Nielsen made an excellent feed from behind the net with his back turned to Donovan in the slot, who was able to put it in with a diving effort.

In the third, Callahan notched his second of the game off a rebound of an Eric Brewer shot. The teams would remain deadlocked until things were finally settled in the shootout’s 13th round.

The Islanders had 10 rookies in the lineup for this game: Strome, Nelson, Donovan, Mike Halmo, Anders Lee, John Persson, John Sundstrom, Anders Nilsson, Calvin de Haan and Kevin Czuczman.

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 29 of 31 non-shootout shots. Matt Donovan had a goal and an assist and was +2.

Islanders recall John Persson

The Islanders have recalled John Persson from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on an emergency loan, the team announced.

Persson, 21, has 16 points (12 goals, four assists) in 43 games with the Sound Tigers this season. The Ostersund, Sweden, native’s 12 goals and seven power-play goals lead all active Sound Tigers.

This is Persson’s first NHL call up.

Game Day (73): Islanders at Lightning, 7:30pm

(27-35-9)                (39-24-9)
Nassau Coliseum — Uniondale, NY
TV: MSG+ Radio: 88.7, 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Lightning… At the deadline veteran Marty St. Louis requested a trade and was moved to the Rangers for Ryan Callahan and draft picks… Mattias Ohlund is the only major injury for Tampa that will miss tonight’s game… Eight players have 10+ goals for Tampa this season, led by Valtteri Filppula with 24… Ben Bishop is the confirmed starter for tonight…  

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

Tonight is the 10th-to-last game of the year for the Islanders as they take on the Lightning in Tampa Bay. As is tradition the tendency of Jack Capuano, there will not be any changes to the lineup after Tuesday night’s win in Carolina. The rest of today’s post is a combined Game Day/ Morning Skate. Lineups are after the jump.

The Islanders have had a number of players only meetings this season — we were keeping count on Twitter earlier, I think the number may be four. Justin Bourne of the Score weighed in on the topic after the division-leading Penguins had a meeting of their own earlier in the week. It’s interesting to read about it from a former player’s perspective, a side we usually don’t get to hear.

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The Afternoon Skate: Flatley’s First, Collberg Hurt

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

Here’s a little bit of a history lesson as we start to near the summer, which is the usual time of year for these things. Back in 1984, Pat Flatley joined the Islanders for the first time since being taken 21st overall in the 1982 draft. The long time Islanders captain made his debut for the team on February 29, 1984 in Winnipeg against the (old) Jets. Flatley would contribute immediately, scoring on his first NHL shot only 5-plus minutes into the game.  

Want to go into a bit of a time warp? Well, here’s the video of that entire game. Thanks to Eric D for passing it along. Flatley’s goal comes at the 11:20 mark of the video but if you have the time you might want to watch the whole 11 minutes for the 30-year old commercials and the soothing tones of Jiggs McDonald. He sounds exactly the same, save for the different names on the ice.

After the goal McDonald and his co-announcer Ed Westfall remark about how they, and Flatley, will remember this for a long time. And, well, here we all are.

Eric Hornick also writes in to say that this game is the only leap-day win in the history of the franchise.

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Islanders 5, Hurricanes 4: Martin, McDonald Score Twice in Goal Fest

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Box Score || Highlights || Fancy Stats

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders took it to a sleep-walking Hurricanes team tonight in North Carolina. With four goals in the first period including three in the first six minutes, the Islanders jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first and (almost) didn’t look back.

Unlikely scorer Colin McDonald scored two of the Isles first three goals, which helped to chase Carolina netminder Cam Ward after only six saves in 6:12 of game time. McDonald jammed at a loose puck in the crease to open the scoring only 3:39 into the game and, after Cal Clutterbuck made it 2-0, McDonald deposited a brilliant feed from Calvin de Haan in the back of the net. The goals were McDonald’s seventh and eighth of the year.

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Game Day (72): Islanders at Hurricanes, 7 p.m.

(27-35-9)                (31-31-9)
PNC Arena — Raleigh, NC
TV: MSG+ Radio: 88.7, 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Hurricanes… Cam Ward will get the start in goal tonight for Carolina…  The Canes only injured is Joni Pitkanen who is out for the season with a heel injury… Carolina is 4-3 in their last seven games…

Projected Lineup:
Lee-Nielsen-Okposo de Haan-Hamonic Nilsson
Bailey-Nelson-Clutterbuck Carkner-Donovan Nabokov
McDonald-Strome-Martin Hickey-Czuczman
Scratches: Martinek, Strait, Visnovsky, Boulton IR: Tavares, Grabner

The Morning Skate: Time to Think About Next Year’s Roster

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

The final 10 games of the 2013-14 are approaching — the 11th from the end takes place tonight — and the way this year has gone they’ll be best used as evaluation on decisions for next year.

For the younger players, it’s a chance to make an impression for a roster spot and get a jump on training camp. Anders Lee is pretty clearly at the head of the pack right now, with 10 points in 11 games. Of course small sample size warnings apply, but anywhere in the real of a point per game, or above half a point per game, would be excellent from him at this point. Ryan Strome has played well since his recall with six points in 11 games and another summer of training will hopefully do him well.

On defense, the Islanders have quite a few names to evaluate and most of them you would imagine are already penciled in for next year’s roster given; A) their performance and B) the lack of depth at the defensive position. Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan and Thomas Hickey should all be in the fold in the fall. Both Donovan and de Haan, along with Lee, are going to be restricted free agents and owed new contracts over the summer.

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Islanders 2, Blue Jackets 0: Isles Hold Two-Goal Lead, Shutout Jackets

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 3.38.13 PMBox Score || Highlights || Fancy Stats

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

With 41 saves from Evgeni Nabokov, the Islanders put a damper on Columbus’ playoff hopes at the Coliseum this afternoon with a shutout win. For Nabokov, it was his third shutout of the year and he was named first start of the game. In a post-game interview with MSG’s Peter Ruttgaizer, he reminded those in attendance that he was feeling good by telling the Coliseum crowd “I still got it!” before telling the same to the assembled media in the Isles hallway. 

Maybe today was a bit of public posturing by the 38-year old unrestricted free agent to be or maybe it was some of his trademark personality.

Regardless of the reason, Nabokov brought to the forefront an off-season question for the Islanders; do they stick with the safety blanket that has been effective but not amazing between the pipes or do they move on to someone else? To read more of this story, click here