Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning's defense flounders in 5-4 loss to New York Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Antero Niittymaki made a tremendous right-leg save on the Islanders' Richard Park late in the third period of Saturday's game.

But nobody was there to clear out the rebound or challenge Park, who zipped the puck over the Lightning's lunging goalie with 2:22 left to give New York a 5-4 victory at Nassau Coliseum.

"That's the house, and that's what we have to protect better," defenseman Matt Walker said.

"That should be a war zone for guys going into that area. We have to make it a tougher place to be."

Quickly, as the Lightning (26-23-11), with two straight losses, faces the Rangers today at Madison Square Garden.

New York is two points behind Tampa Bay in the East. So a win means putting distance between a pursuer while surpassing the Canadiens for the conference's final playoff spot and tying the Bruins for seventh. It also means salvaging a bit of the momentum the team wanted to create heading into the two-week Olympic break.

How do you lose momentum?

Give away two points to a team, the Islanders, chasing you in the standings despite leading 3-2 in the second period and with a 4-4 tie in the third.

Allow 10 goals in two games, as many as allowed in seven previous, and continue a scoring drought among some top players.

Steven Stamkos scored his team-best 34th goal, and Steve Downie scored his 14th 2:57 into the third to tie the score 4-4.

But Vinny Lecavalier is now at four straight games without a point. Alex Tanguay had an assist but has one goal in 11 games, and Ryan Malone has zero goals in 10.

"I can't answer that anymore," coach Rick Tocchet said when asked how to engage those players. "I'm tired of it. What are you going to do?

"You keep plugging away and stick with the guys, and hopefully, they'll break through."

So back to the porous defense that included Lecavalier at minus-3.

Kyle Okposo scored from in close with 3:48 left in the second period to make it 3-3 after getting between defenseman Andrej Meszaros, Tanguay and Lecavalier.

Park scored a minute later from in front of the net off a rebound to make it 4-3. And then there was the debacle on his winner.

"It wasn't chances coming down from the outside, taking shots, that sort of thing. It was guys are coming right down the pipe," Walker said. "We're giving Grade A chances in the slot and in the 10-foot circle around the net."

"Execution with the puck, decisions with the puck, they're killing us," Marty St. Louis said.

And with Niittymaki for the second straight game off the level he showed on his 7-0-1 run, those mistakes were exposed.

Not exactly what the Lightning wanted to see.

Islanders 1 3 1 5
Lightning 2 1 1 4

First Period—1, N.Y. Islanders, Comeau 7 (Schremp), 7:31. 2, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 34 (St. Louis, Foster), 11:14. 3, Tampa Bay, Lundin 2 (Stamkos), 14:29. PenaltiesStreit, NYI (interference), :44; Bergenheim, NYI (tripping), 1:26; N.Thompson, TB (cross-checking), 4:39; Bergenheim, NYI (hooking), 11:33; N.Thompson, TB, major (fighting), 14:15; Martin, NYI, major-misconduct (fighting), 14:15; Downie, TB (slashing), 18:52.

Second Period4, N.Y. Islanders, Weight 1 (Okposo), 4:26. 5, Tampa Bay, N.Thompson 2 (Tanguay, Halpern), 12:27. 6, N.Y. Islanders, Okposo 13 (Tavares, Sutton), 16:12. 7, N.Y. Islanders, Park 5 (Comeau, Biron), 17:12. PenaltiesSmaby, TB (slashing), 13:36; Joensuu, NYI (interference), 17:49.

Third Period8, Tampa Bay, Downie 14 (Ohlund, St. Louis), 2:57. 9, N.Y. Islanders, Park 6 (Weight, Moulson), 17:38. PenaltiesN.Thompson, TB (interference), 4:39; Hunter, NYI (interference), 11:38. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 14-9-19—42. N.Y. Islanders 9-17-7—33. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 5; N.Y. Islanders 0 of 4. GoaliesTampa Bay, Niittymaki 16-10-5 (33 shots-28 saves). N.Y. Islanders, Biron 4-11-2 (42-38). A12,337 (16,234).

Islanders 5

Lightning 4

Tampa Bay Lightning's defense flounders in 5-4 loss to New York Islanders 02/13/10 [Last modified: Saturday, February 13, 2010 11:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.