The Tampa Bay Lightning were desperate to win Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Islanders could not match their intensity and they fell 4-1.
“We’re disappointed with the way that it went, but we definitely know that we’re a better team,” said Islanders defenseman Steve Staios
. “We’ll use this as a boost for us.”
After defeating the Lightning 5-1 a week ago at Nassau Coliseum en route to posting a 3-1-0 record at home, the Lighting continued to slide.
|Victor Hedman slows down John Tavares along the boards during the second period at the St. Pete Times Forum on October 20, 2011. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images) |
As desperation set in, the Bolts big name players showed up and started the game with three unanswered goals. Ryan Malone scored a power play goal at 16:32 of the first, which was followed up by Vincent Lecavalier at 15:14 of the second and Steven Stamkos at 5:25 of the third.
“We knew exactly what we were supposed to do and we didn’t execute that and we didn’t execute getting to the net,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “Really, we didn’t have any extended zone time. So if you don’t have that, you’re not going to get shots, you’re not going to get chances, you’re not going to get power plays.”
The Isles head coach told the media Wednesday about the importance of secondary scoring, explaining that you can’t depend on one player or one line to carry the workload. He also said that he didn’t want to have to change up line combinations just yet, but that’s exactly what he did to create some momentum heading into the second half.
“The game plan is set and there were some guys that obviously have had their chances and there are other guys that have to pick it up a little bit,” Capuano said. “Midway through the second, we didn’t have a shot with nine minutes left. It’s not something that I wanted to do, but we changed the line combinations a little bit and we got some momentum there.”Michael Grabner
, on a new line with Brian Rolston and Marty Reasoner
, responded to score the Islanders lone goal at 7:55 of the third period.
“Everyone needs to chip in and play their roles, especially our line,” Grabner said. “We haven’t really created any offense in the last few games here. We all just have to pick it up and work hard as five-man units.”
Brett Clark sealed the Lightning’s win, providing the final margin at 16:59 of the third.
If the Islanders plan on winning more games, Staios said the team needs to be more consistent. The Islanders trailed shots on goal 17-30 at the end of regulation, half of what they put to the net in their previous two games at home.
“That was a huge difference in the game, their net presence versus our net presence,” Capuano said.
No excuses, we know we have to be better, but we’re not going to let this fester too much. We know that we have to play. We have to be ready for the next game. We’re not going to let this get us down. We’re just going to use it as motivation. - Steve Staios
Without any Grade-A opportunities, the Islanders know they’ll have to step up their game if they want to defeat the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
“We came off with a good start and then were kind of up and down the whole game,” Staios said. “It’s early in the season, no excuses, we know we have to be better, but we’re not going to let this fester too much. We know that we have to play. We have to be ready for the next game. We’re not going to let this get us down. We’re just going to use it as motivation.”
The Bolts win Thursday night put an end to their five-game winless streak.