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Burns: 3 Things we learned from revenge against the Islanders

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 6-2 win over the Islanders

by Bryan Burns /

A little over two weeks ago, the New York Islanders handed the Tampa Bay Lightning one of their worst (and only) defeats of the season, outplaying the Bolts for two-plus periods and holding off a furious late rally in a 5-3 victory.

The Lightning got their revenge and then some in a 6-2 pasting of the Islanders on Tuesday night.

Yanni Gourde scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, to give him four goals in two games this season against the Isles.

"Yeah, I guess I'd love to see them again," Gourde said, smiling, after the game when asked if he'd like to see the Islanders on the schedule more.

NHL scoring leader Nikita Kucherov added to his point total with two assists to become just the third Tampa Bay player all-time to reach the 40-point mark through the first 27 games of the season.

And Chris Kunitz registered a goal and an assist for his first multi-point game in a Lightning sweater.

Of Tampa Bay's six goals on Tuesday, none came from Kucherov, Steven Stamkos or Victor Hedman, speaking to the depth the Bolts have built throughout their lineup.

"To have success in this league you have to have scoring throughout the lineup," Ryan Callahan said.

The Lightning dominated the first period, overcame a lull in the second and closed out the Islanders with a bang. We'll examine all three phases to the game in Three Things we learned from getting revenge.

Video: Gourde on two goal effort in win over the Islanders


The last time the Lightning and the Islanders met, New York scored 51 seconds into the contest, setting the stage for an early flurry the Bolts couldn't quite recover from.

Tuesday's rematch went pretty much the same way, except this time in favor of Tampa Bay.

The Lightning jumped all over the Islanders in the first period, and Brayden Point scored on the opening shift 34 seconds into the contest to put the Bolts up early.

Andrej Sustr netted a second goal for Tampa Bay with 2:13 to go in the opening period to make it 2-0.

New York was playing its second game in as many nights after going to a shootout Monday in Sunrise against Florida.

The Lightning capitalized on the fortunate circumstances to completely overwhelm the Isles in a dominant first. Tampa Bay outshot New York 11-2 in the first 20 minutes, the two shots the fewest allowed in a period by the Lightning this season.

Shot attempts were 26-3 in favor of Tampa Bay after the first.

"You don't want to be embarrassed in your own rink," Kunitz said, referring to the emphasis placed on a better start following the first matchup against the Islanders. "That was kind of the start of our little bit of our losing streak. We were kind of losing our luster for that week and a half or two. We need to come out and have a great start. We did that and capitalized on scoring on the first shift."

 Video: Callahan on 6-2 win over the Islanders


For about a 15-minute stretch of the second period, everything the Lightning did to build a 2-0 lead in the opening period completely unraveled in a middle frame played largely in the Bolts' defensive end of the ice.

Mathew Barzal capitalized on New York's first power play of the game to get his side on the board. Barzal then feathered a beauty of a pass to Jordan Eberle in the opposite circle to tie the game 2-2 at the 8:58 mark of the second period.

Despite the dominant start, the Lightning were reeling.

Luckily, they have one of the best goaltenders in the NHL to lean on.

Andrei Vasilevskiy did his best work with the game tied, keeping it level until the Bolts could regain their offensive sharpness. Vasilevskiy finished with 29 saves on 31 shots and won his NHL-best 18th game of the season.

He's now 18-4-1 on the season.

"I thought Vasy kept it at two," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "If they get the third one and now we're down one, who knows what that does to the psyche."

 Video: NYI@TBL: Gourde cashes in on rebound for PPG


With about five minutes remaining in the second period, the Lightning started firing on all cylinders again.

Over a 2:24 stretch late in the second, the Bolts scored three goals to effectively ice the game.

Yanni Gourde put the Bolts back in front on the power play, rebounding Mikhail Sergachev's shot off the back boards past Thomas Greiss for a 3-2 Tampa Bay lead. Gourde scored again 1:34 after his first goal on another rebound to push the lead to 4-2.

"On the power play, I saw the puck was going to the net so I took a couple of strides there," Gourde said postgame. "It hit the backboard and it came back on my stick. And the second goal, I was trying to get good body position at the center of the net and we missed a very good chance. Obviously, you want to be around the net."

Vladislav Namestnikov capped the late third period onslaught with his 11th goal of the season and another power-play marker for the Bolts.

Chris Kunitz added an insurance goal in the third for the 6-2 final.

The Bolts owned the first 20 minutes, fell asleep for 15 minutes in the second and then awoke to choke the life out of the Islanders for the remainder of the game.

"I don't know if anybody can sit here and say we played a perfect 60 minutes," Cooper said. "We played a pretty darn good 45."

The Lightning have preached putting in a full 60-minute effort since coming back from a road trip with a 1-3-0 record.

They weren't able to play a complete game on Tuesday.

But 45 minutes of flawless hockey was more than enough to take down the Islanders.

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