Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning responds with easy victory over Islanders

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — After losing three straight, including Sunday's embarrassment at Madison Square Garden, wing Alex Killorn said Tuesday's game with the Islanders needed to be a "turning point."

Coach Jon Cooper dubbed it a test.

Tampa Bay passed in a big way in a dominating 6-1 drubbing of the Islanders, drawing boos from the disgruntled crowd at the Barclays Center. The victory salvaged a split of a six-game, 12-day road trip for the Lightning, and could be a galvanizing moment for a Stanley Cup contender that had underachieved so far.

"Sometimes it just takes a spark," captain Steven Stamkos said. "It takes an embarrassing loss or a tough stretch. You're going to have tough stretches like that. It's how you can respond to that. In the scheme of it, it's one game. But it was what we wanted."

Stamkos said players were challenged by each other, and the coaching staff.

"Accountability has been the big word," he said.

Cooper showed the team clips Tuesday morning of the Lightning's 6-1 loss Sunday, then highlights from its better games this season. The message: Defend first, and let the skill take over.

The game began by Ryan Callahan defending a teammate, wing Jonathan Drouin, who left early in the first period after taking a hit to the head by Islanders defenseman Travis de Haan. Drouin didn't return but was in "good spirits," Cooper said. Callahan fought de Haan.

"That set the tone," Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkeokk said.

Nikita Kucherov, who had his best game of the season, scored his first of two power-play goals soon after. The Lightning (6-4) scored three first-period goals, matching its total from the first nine games combined.

"You could see how mentally prepared we were for the game," Kucherov said. "We started playing from the first minute up to 60."

The Lightning's top players were the driving force. Stamkos had a goal and assist with a team-high seven shots. Goalie Ben Bishop rebounded from Sunday with a 26-save performance.

The Lightning, which surrendered a dozen odd-man rushes Sunday, held the Islanders to six shots in the first 30 minutes, 27 total.

"Everyone did their job," Bishop said. "You can see the results when we play the right way."

Koekkoek, in his season debut, racked up two assists in an overall solid game, making a case to stick in the lineup. J.T. Brown (shorthanded breakaway), Valtteri Filppula and Brian Boyle also scored. Vladislav Namestnikov had a heck of a game.

Stamkos said the Lightning must use this as a springboard, an example of how it should play.

Cooper, who called his entire team passengers in Sunday's loss, had a much different view of this one.

"There weren't enough driver's seats," Cooper said. "It was good."

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First—1, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 2 (Hedman, Stamkos), 3:21 (pp). 2, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 3 (Hedman, Killorn), 12:18 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 7 (Koekkoek, Kucherov), 13:34.

Second—4, Tampa Bay, Boyle 2 (Callahan, Filppula), 6:17. 5, Tampa Bay, Brown 1, 9:30 (sh). 6, Tampa Bay, Filppula 4 (Koekkoek, Kucherov), 11:19. 7, N.Y. Islanders, Seidenberg 3 (Tavares, De haan), 19:30.

Third—None.

Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 14-16-6—36. N.Y. Islanders 4-8-15—27. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 2 of 7; N.Y. Islanders 0 of 4. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Bishop 4-3-0 (27 shots-26 saves). N.Y. Islanders, Halak 2-3-0 (25-22), Greiss 2-3-0 (11-8). A—10,822 (15,813). T—2:29. Referees—Steve Kozari, Brian Pochmara.

     
 
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