TAMPA — Steven Stamkos insisted he has not been pressing and said his only disappointment lately in regard to his game was letting so many scoring chances slip away.
"Frustrating," he said of his four-game stretch without a goal. "I wasn't proud of not getting on the score sheet, either."
It was business as usual Saturday night, though, as the Lightning center scored twice in a 4-3 victory over the Islanders at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
With 52 goals, Stamkos is seven ahead of Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin in the goals race, and he tied Vinny Lecavalier's season club record set in 2006-07.
"It's nice," Stamkos said. "I don't think it means too much right now with where we are in the standings. I'd like to be doing it in the playoff mix, but it was still nice to get a couple and contribute offensively."
It also was a nice win for the Lightning (34-33-7), which blew a 2-0 second-period lead and needed goals from Tom Pyatt and Tim Wallace in the third to overcome a 3-2 deficit.
Stamkos was in on the winner, too, capping his three-point night with an assist on Wallace's goal with 7:50 left as Tampa Bay ended a seven-game homestand 3-4-0.
"I thought he was terrific (Saturday)," coach Guy Boucher said. "He's proven he's a character guy."
This was an important game for the Lightning. The win, coupled with Carolina's loss and Toronto's shootout loss, pushed it to fourth in the Southeast Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference.
Hey, when you're not going to the playoffs, you take what you can get.
The Lightning gladly took another strong game from goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who made 34 saves. New York had a 37-26 shot advantage, including 15-6 in the second period, when it scored twice to tie the score 2-2.
Pyatt's 11th goal of the season, and third in two games, 9:08 into the third tied the score 3-3 and took away the momentum the Islanders had gained on Matt Moulson's goal at 43 seconds for a 3-2 lead.
But Stamkos — who passed up a chance at a hat trick to feed Wallace for the winner, a zippy wrist shot from the slot — was the center of attention. "It was nice to get a couple and contribute offensively," he said.
Said Roloson: "Everyone in this locker room is excited for him and wishes him all the best to get the maximum number (of goals) he can possibly get. He's a great person and a great athlete."
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 51 (Purcell, St. Louis), 15:49. Penalties—Reasoner, NYI (high-sticking), 6:36; Brewer, TB (holding), 16:48.
Second Period—2, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 52 (St. Louis, Purcell), 1:46. 3, NYI, Nielsen 15 (Moulson, Tavares), 8:15 (pp). 4, NYI, Okposo 16 (Bailey, Nielsen), 19:24. Penalties—Parenteau, NYI (tripping), 4:02; Segal, TB (tripping), 8:01; Brewer, TB (slashing), 10:34.
Third Period—5, NYI, Moulson 33 (Streit, MacDonald), :43. 6, Tampa Bay, Pyatt 11 (Malone, Connolly), 9:08. 7, Tampa Bay, Wallace 3 (Stamkos, Labrie), 12:10. Penalties—Okposo, NYI (tripping), 13:33. Shots on Goal—NYI 14-15-8—37. Tampa Bay 9-6-11—26. Power-play opportunities—NYI 1 of 3; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. Goalies—NYI, Montoya 7-7-5 (26 shots-22 saves). Tampa Bay, Roloson 10-14-2 (37-34). A—19,204 (19,204). T—2:19.Referees—Mike Hasenfratz, Dean Morton. Linesmen—Pierre Racicot, Lonnie Cameron.