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Islanders 4, Lightning 3

The SportsXchange

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders scored three second-period goals, including two in a 1:12 span, to hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Monday.

New York was also able to fend off a furious third period rally by Tampa Bay in front of an announced crowd of 15,322 at Nassau Coliseum.

Michael Grabner, Matt Martin and Kyle Okposo all scored in the second while John Tavares had two assists in the period for the Islanders, who are 1-1 through two games for the third straight year.

David Ullstrom seemed to ice the game when he put the Islanders up 4-0 with a goal 1:31 into the third period, but the Lightning mounted an impressive third period rally for the second time in as many games.

Martin St. Louis ended the shutout when he netted his third goal of the season just 51 seconds after Ullstrom's goal. Benoit Pouliot tapped in a loose puck with 12:34 to play and the Lightning controlled the subsequent faceoff before Steven Stamkos, who led the NHL with 60 goals last season, scored amidst a scrum to the left of Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov with exactly 12 minutes left.

The Lightning, which broke a tie in its season opener by scoring three goals in the third period of a 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night, could not get the equalizer as the Islanders tightened up on defense and regained control on offense.

Nate Thompson had the best chance for the Lightning, but his shot from to the right of the crease bounced off Nabokov's pads with about 5:30 left.

Nabokov had 23 saves for the Islanders, who dominated play during the first two periods, a stretch in which they outshot the Lightning 26-15. Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback had 40 saves in an impressive effort.

The Islanders' defense helped created their three second-period goals. With the Islanders on the power play, Mark Streit's pass from behind the Islanders' goal hit Grabner in stride as he closed in on Lindback. Defenseman Eric Brewer tried hooking Grabner and poking the puck away from behind, but Grabner kept his balance and beat Lindback in the upper left corner of the net to put the Islanders up 1-0.

Martin's breakaway goal off Tavares' clearing pass from behind the Islanders' goal put the Islanders ahead 2-0 with 3:37 left in the second. The Lightning responded with an immediate flurry, but Nabokov fended off Vincent Lacavalier's shot and the puck ricocheted down the ice to Okposo, who faked a pass to Tavares and Lindback.

Notes: The game opened with a pair of fights on the opening faceoff. The Lightning's B.J. Crombeen and Pierre-Cedric Labrie traded blows with the Islanders' Martin and Joe Finley, respectively. All four players earned 5-minute penalties. Then the Lightning's Ryan Malone and the Islanders' Colin McDonald shoved each other during the restart, which sent them to the penalty box for 2 minutes apiece. ... Lecavalier played in his 1,000th career game. Lecavalier, who has spent his entire 14-year career with the Lightning, is the 26th active player to appear in 1,000 games. ... Islanders coach Jack Capuano returned to the bench after missing Saturday's opener with kidney stones. ... With their season-opening two-game homestand complete, the countdown has officially started on the Islanders' time left at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders, who have played at Nassau Coliseum since joining the NHL in 1972, announced in October they will move to Brooklyn's Barclays Center for the 2015-16 season.
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