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Islanders 2, Lightning 0

The SportsXchange

TAMPA -- The New York Islanders remained within sight of the Eastern Conference playoffs on Thursday at Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Lightning just kept fading away.

With a 2-0 win, New York improved to 12-12-3 (27 points) and remained on the fringe of the eighth and final postseason spot as the Lightning (11-15-1, 23 points) lost for the eighth time in ten games.

The Islanders got the only goal they needed with 10:55 left in the second period when John Tavares tipped a deflection past goaltender Anders Lindback in the crease. Mark Streit started the sequence with a blast from the high slot that bounced off Matt Moulson, who was creating a screen in front of Lindback. The goal was Tavares' fourth in his last five games and improved his team-leading total to 17. Moulson picked up us 17th assist, Streit his 11th.

Brad Boyes added an empty-netter for New York.

Tampa Bay frittered away most of a late-period power play and was frustrated with 4:16 left when Steven Stamkos, the league's leading goal-scorer (20), arrived at the open left side of the net the same time as a loose puck. Stamkos' stick blade snapped as he played the puck, however, and the Islanders were able to clear.

Tampa Bay labored offensively, amassing just 12 shots through two periods. The Lightning appeared to miss the flair and physical presence of captain Vincent Lecavalier, particularly on a power play with 8:29 left as the special teams missed his connection with Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. Stamkos was able to create occasional initial chances, but the New York back check snuffed out any follow-up attempts.

Lindback preserved the one-goal spread with 13:34 remaining with an acrobatic sprawling save of an attempted backhander from Marty Reasoner on a 2-on-2 breakout.

The game was scoreless after the first period as the Islanders amassed a 13-6 shots advantage. Evgeni Nabokov made a snap save of a Stamkos shot early in the period and counterpart Anders Lindback deftly followed a Thomas Hickey slap shot through a screen with 2:16 left to make the save.

NOTES: Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier was placed on injured reserve Thursday and will likely miss at least a week, according to general manager Steve Yzerman. Lecavalier (7 goals, sixth in the NHL with a 54.8% faceoff percentage) hunched on the Tampa Bay bench late in Tuesday's game after banging legs with a Florida defenseman in front of the Panther net. Lecavalier's goal on Tuesday was his first in 11 games as he played through the recovery from a foot injury suffered in February. ... Tampa Bay recalled American Hockey League goals leader Tyler Johnson (31) from Syracuse. ... The Islanders entered having gained points in seven of their previous 10 games and were three points out of the eighth place and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
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