The New York Islanders' five-game win streak came to a halt in Tampa Bay in a 5-2 loss that started with a bang, then petered out to an uneventful, tiring end.
There was a frenzy of goals in the game's first 22 minutes, but when the dust settled the Islanders were down 4-2, and the Lightning gave them few opportunities to get it back. The Isles did little with those opportunities before the Lightning added an academic final goal late in the third.
How It Happened
First Period: Goalsplosion
Things started positively enough, but with a bit of unsettling chaos. Brock Nelson opened scoring with a nice wrist shot after an overlap play with John Tavares. However, just a minute later Ryan Callahan tied it after the Lightning moved the puck well in the Isles zone.
The Isles got the lead back less than three minutes later when Josh Bailey tipped a Johnny Boychuk shot in on the power play. Once again, the lead was short-lived as Valtteri Filppula scored on the power play, then Cedric Paquette scored what proved to be the winner. This was all within four minutes of Bailey's goal.
Second Period: Squeezing the Life Out of the Game
Though the second period was much more tame, the insurance goal came early after former Leaf teammates Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin crossed flight patterns just inside the Lightning blueline. That created a turnover, some chaotic rushing back to coverage, which combined with good passing from the Lightning left Tyler Johnson alone at the right wing circle to beat Ben Bishop.
That was the only goal of the second period, sending the Isles into the third down two goals for the seventh period of a back-to-back.
Third Period: Not Your Night, Bro
The second line had another comical cross-up of sorts in the third period. While pushing to get one goal back, Frans Nielsen made a nice play to steal the puck to Bishop's right, go all the way around the crease on his backhand to pull Bishop out of the net...only to backhand the puck high, wide, and nearly at a ducking Kulemin's face.
One more brief opportunity to restore life in the third came when the Lightning gifted the Islanders with a power play thanks to too many men on the ice. But the Isles passed way too much and shot way too little.
Not long after that power play expired, the Isles inexcusably let Radko Gudas score on a harmless point shot that dipped under Chad Johnson's glove.
Down to 11-6
That's how it ended, 5-2 for the Lightning. So, the back-to-back effect is always a thing, and the Isles looked every bit the more fatigued team -- though the kid line of Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome and Anders Lee was again promising.
But the Isles overall didn't do enough to hold their early lead nor anything much to get it back after the Lightning stole it. The Lightning were sharp all night, perfect on the penalty kill, and smart in limiting Isles opportunities once they got a two-goal lead.
Tuesday at home, the Isles will have their chance to answer.