The Lightning won for the second time in three games Friday, beating Philadelphia 6-3 behind two goals from rookie Ryan Craig. The victory moved Tampa Bay to within two points of sixth-place New Jersey in the Eastern Conference.
“Go to the net, sometimes you get lucky,” said Craig, who has 12 goals and seven assists in 33 games this season. “Being in the right place at the right time. It’s good to help the team out.”
Vincent Lecavalier had a goal and an assist to extend his point streak to six games, but the Lightning may not have him around for this contest.
The 25-year-old center, who has five goals and three assists during the streak, could be suspended after receiving instigator, fighting and game misconduct penalties for an altercation with Philadelphia defenseman Denis Gauthier.
After Lecavalier’s wraparound made it 5-3 with 1:43 left, Gauthier knocked him down and Lecavalier responded.
“He’s the one that instigated it by hitting me late after a goal,” Lecavalier said. “I definitely don’t think I should be suspended.”
Tampa Bay has won each of this season’s three meetings with New York by a goal, and including the playoffs, has won six straight in the series.
The Islanders have lost two in a row after a season-high four-game winning streak, including a 4-2 defeat to Florida on Friday. Miroslav Satan scored twice and Rick DiPietro made 40 saves for New York, which fell to 2-2-0 on its five-game road trip.
The Islanders need a late rally to make the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
“It feels like a must-win situation,” DiPietro said. “The games keep getting more and more important.”
STANDINGS (through March 17): Islanders - 66 points, 4th place, 18 PB, Atlantic Division. Lightning - 74 points, 2nd place, 22 PB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Satan, 26 goals; Alexei Yashin and Mike York, 34 assists; Yashin, 56 points; John Erskine, 111 PIM. Lightning - Lecavalier, 30 goals; Brad Richards, 48 assists; Richards and Vaclav Prospal, 67 points; Pavel Kubina, 84 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 17): Islanders - Power play: 17.3 percent (64 for 369), 19th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.8 percent (313 for 397), 26th. Lightning - Power play: 15.5 percent (62 for 400), 24th. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (271 for 330), 18th.
SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 3-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 6; Lightning 3-2, OT. At Uniondale, N.Y., Martin St. Louis notched the tying goal with 1:12 left in regulation and then set up Lecavalier’s breakaway score in overtime. York and Jason Blake scored for the Islanders.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 15-17-2 on the road; Lightning - 17-12-2 at home.