Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning loses to Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The way Lightning coach Jon Cooper figured it, Saturday night's game with the Islanders was a chance to collect on a debt owed by New York coach Jack Capuano.

In one of Capuano's last games in November 2010 before taking the New York job, his AHL Bridgeport team beat Cooper's Norfolk squad.

"So, he probably owes me," Cooper said before the game.

He still does, as New York earned a 4-2 victory at the Nassau Coliseum. The Lightning, with turnovers and general puck-possession issues, did much to help the Islanders' cause.

Worse, Tampa Bay did not get a shot in the final 11 minutes, 12 seconds, and the winning goal — Matt Martin's nothing wrist shot with 6:26 left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie — went right past screened goaltender Ben Bishop.

"Never saw him shoot it," Bishop said. "Never saw the puck."

"That's definitely not how we want to play," right wing B.J. Crombeen said. "We have to find a way to get pucks and bodies to the net."

It was the first regulation loss in five games for Tampa Bay (16-19-2) and the first regulation loss for new coach Cooper, who is 2-1-1.

It also was a devastating blow to Tampa Bay's slim playoff hopes. The first-place Capitals won to increase their lead over the Lightning in the Southeast Division to six points with 11 games to play.

And that sets up what is a must-win game tonight at Washington.

"We've got to go in and play our game," Bishop said, "and we'll be fine."

The Lightning can't play as it did against the Islanders. With 17 giveaways and 14 takeaways, the Lightning turned the puck over 31 times.

Nate Thompson's giveaway at the Tampa Bay blue line resulted in Michael Grabner's opening goal. And Matt Carle's failure to stop free-skating Kyle Okposo in the Lightning zone led to Josh Bailey's goal in the second, with Bailey outmaneuvering Tom Pyatt.

Goals by Richard Panik in the second and Carle four minutes into the third period tied the score 2-2. But the Islanders, who had a 28-21 shot advantage, took over after that, shutting down the Lightning in the neutral zone.

"It's a work in progress," Cooper said. "It's tough. We haven't had a lot of practice time together. But a big point of contention is coming out clean out of the defensive zone, and we didn't do that."

The Lightning also went 0-for-3 on the power play, upping its dry spell to 2-for-35. Being outshot 8-0 in the final 11:12, including on an empty-net goal, should be unacceptable.

Cooper should add it to Capuano's bill.

Islanders1124
Lightning0112
Islanders1124
Lightning0112

First Period1, N.Y. Islanders, Grabner 12 (Tavares), 14:45. PenaltiesHickey, NYI (cross-checking), 6:37; Nielsen, NYI (hooking), 18:20.

Second Period2, Tampa Bay, Panik 2 (Lecavalier, Carle), 4:44. 3, N.Y. Islanders, Bailey 7 (Okposo, Nielsen), 8:22. PenaltiesGudas, TB (holding), 11:38; Joensuu, NYI (high-sticking), 15:02.

Third Period4, Tampa Bay, Carle 4 (Stamkos, Pouliot), 4:00. 5, N.Y. Islanders, Martin 3 (A.Lee, Streit), 13:34. 6, N.Y. Islanders, MacDonald 3 (Bailey), 19:46 (en). PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 7-8-6—21. N.Y. Islanders 12-4-12—28. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 3; N.Y. Islanders 0 of 1. GoaliesTampa Bay, Bishop 9-6-0 (27 shots-24 saves). N.Y. Islanders, Nabokov 18-11-4 (21-19). A16,170 (16,234). T2:17.

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