Back then they teamed up for plenty of goals, but this was a first in the NHL.
“It’s unbelievable,” the 31-year-old Perrin said. “We had one in preseason, but you don’t count those.”
St. Louis’ power-play goal in the second period with help from his childhood friend snapped a tie and sent the Tampa Bay Lightning to a slump-busting 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Monday night.
Perrin scored one of his own in the third period, and Filip Kuba netted two as the Lightning scored five goals for the third straight game. Unlike Saturday when the Lightning blew a late lead and lost in overtime at Boston, they put New York away.
St. Louis stretched his point streak to nine games when he fired in a hard shot off a feed from Perrin that gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead with 7:12 left in the middle period. The pair, who grew up in Laval, Quebec, went on to star together at the University of Vermont but had never combined on an NHL goal.
“It’s been a long time and it was a pretty surreal moment going to him to celebrate,” Perrin said. “It was a weird feeling and brought back lots of memories.”
And it capped a wild 24 hours for Perrin, who has played in only 19 NHL games. He returned home to Florida on Sunday for the birth of a son—his second child—and then flew to Long Island on Monday.
Vincent Lecavalier got the other assist on St. Louis’ goal, giving him points in nine straight games, too. Tampa Bay won for just the second time in six games (2-3-1), with Johan Holmqvist in net for both.
“For one game, I think we played a pretty complete game,” coach John Tortorella said.
Kuba extended the lead to 3-1 with another power-play goal in the second period and his first tally with the Lightning, who signed the defenseman away from the Minnesota Wild in the offseason. Kuba added another man-advantage goal with 7:05 remaining to give Tampa Bay a three-goal lead.
The Lightning were the last NHL team to get a goal from their defense.
Perrin made it 5-1 with 4:28 left.
The Lightning pulled away in the second period—a frame they have owned through 15 games. They have outscored opponents 25-9 in the second period and are 7-1-1 when scoring at least three goals.
Alexei Zhitnik answered Andreas Karlsson’s opening goal and got the Islanders even at 1 with 55.5 seconds left in the first period. He beat Holmqvist with a shot from the left point that fluttered through traffic and ticked off the glove of the goalie.
That was the only blemish for Holmqvist, who won consecutive starts in a span of five days. He earned his only other NHL win Thursday with a 32-save effort at Philadelphia. Perrin sealed that 5-2 victory with an empty-netter, the first of his two NHL goals.
The Islanders closed out a long stretch at home with two losses in which they were outscored 9-2.
“This was worse than a clunker. We seemed to quit,” coach Ted Nolan said. “It’s one thing to be outskilled and outworked at certain times, but when you look like you quit, that’s another story.”
Perrin can count all of his points on one hand—his goal and assist gave him five in his career. In contrast, St. Louis has 151 regular-season goals, 337 points, and an MVP trophy on his resume.
As far as Perrin is concerned, St. Louis’ biggest assist came in 2003 when the star forward suggested to general manager Jay Feaster that the Lightning sign Perrin, who was playing in Finland. Now they are back together, rooming on the road.
“It was weird. I guess we’ve just got to get used to it,” St. Louis said. “It’s like watching a brother getting a chance. I’m really hoping that he gets a hold of it and runs with it.”
Holmqvist did the rest in place of regular goalie Marc Denis, who has lost three straight starts. He finished with 25 saves.
Mike Dunham stopped 22 shots, but took the loss while spelling Rick DiPietro. New York’s top goalie, who signed a 15-year contract before the season started, heard boos and calls for Dunham in the Islanders’ 4-1 home loss to Atlanta on Saturday.
“We took some steps forward, and now it seems like we’re going back,” Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt said.
Tampa Bay is 0-6 when scoring two goals or fewer. … St. Louis earned an assist on Kuba’s second goal … The Islanders went 5-3-2 while playing nine of 10 at home. They start a five-game road trip Thursday at Philadelphia.