Of course it was ex-Islander Tim Wallace. That's just how these things go.
It was just his third goal of the season -- and of his NHL career at age 27 -- but depth guys get let go and claimed on waivers or signed in Tampa Bay and they score one of those goals. This one came with 7:50 left in the game to give the Lightning the 4-3 win.
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Not a bad effort overall for the Isles. They forced 34 saves (and several posts) from Dwayne Roloson and erased a 2-0 deficit to tie it late in the second and even take a 3-2 lead early in the third. But Steven Stamkos scored the first two and his assist was big on Wallace's goal, drawing enough attention through his stardom to leave Wallace alone in the high slot to take the drop pass and beat Al Montoya.
On the Islanders' side, Frans Nielsen extended his career high to 15 goals (a backhand on the powerplay, but not in Backhand of Judgment style), Kyle Okposo tied it with his 16th, and Matt Moulson got the go-ahead (for a while) with his 33rd.
Newsday's recap takes a somber note with Montoya's season winding down and his future uncertain. At the opposite end, Roloson's career must be in its final days, but he put together consecutive solid starts for the first time in a long while. (Of course, a couple of those posts go the other way and it maybe doesn't look that way.)
The Isles had the better of play through two periods despite having to come back from 2-0 down. Then when they got the lead 43 seconds into the third, that balance did not last.
- Mark Streit's point streak continued with another nice play down low, taking it around the net to help feed Moulson's goal.
- Almost shocking to see Victor Hedman dally with the puck in his own zone late in the second, allowing Okposo to encroach close enough to block his clear and, moments later, pot the tying goal. Nice effort from Okposo all around there.
- Marty Reasoner had a noticeable game from the fourth line, but his miserable luck continues. Couldn't convert a breakaway and missed on a dangerous redirection of a Michael Grabner pass.
- Matt Martin had six shots on goal, including a shorthanded 2-on-1 with Josh Bailey in the first that Hedman played well enough to limit Martin's options to a shot.
- No rest: The Florida Panthers beckon, with a 5 p.m. start Sunday. The Panthers have had some trouble against some weak opponents lately; this one could be tough but with a fun spoiler opportunity. (Leave your FIG picks for that one in this thread.)
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That regulation loss drops the Isles, in 27th overall, a full four points behind Tampa Bay, Carolina and Toronto (and Anaheim out West), but with games in hand on each of them outside of the Lightning. The lottery placement is still wide open.
Newsday's sidebar was on Evgeni Nabokov, who had the night off, and the Isles work ethic.
Michael Fornabaio has the AHL picture, complete with wild math and Norfolk's crazy win streak.